sweetie doo

Friday, April 30, 2010


daffodils - a favourite polaroid from les Black Street photo archives

We are more often frightened than hurt
and we suffer more from imagination than from reality

Seneca (Roman philosopher mid 1st century AD)

It's raining, the wind is whispering around this old brick house, the air is cool and the sea is choppy and rough. It's the first day of lobster season and the fisherman all left our little harbour before dawn this early morning. They're placing their lobster traps today out in the strait.

and below ... more favourites photographs from the archives. Photos of daffodils, the rarely seen neat as a pin teak topped desk and the biggest ol' sweetie doo ever.


calm

Thursday, April 29, 2010


a few morning's ago at the crescent beach ... common eiders double dating on calm seas

Remain calm. Be kind.

Colin Powell

We saw an osprey this early morning over the harbour. A rare sighting. They are easily recognized for their size, white underbelly and the distinct hovering maneuver they do high up in the sky over the water - they fish from above. It's a grey, dull and muted day this early morning. There's a chill in the air and we have a fire blazing in our fireplace. Missy D, the associates and I have a tres cozy day of drawing (a new exciting project) planned here at teak topped desk.

Osprey animal medicine - osprey teaches us to take risks, and to not be frightened of grasping opportunities just because they seem like they're out of our reach

oppositeness

Wednesday, April 28, 2010




along our early morning walking route - patches of brilliant blue tiny flowers just up

Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

sigh ...

something that I've mentioned to best friend and designer gal MLou many, many times is that I should put into practice a policy of oppositness when it comes to some of the things that I ponder (especially the all too common negative variety of my thoughts and beliefs - the ones that are stuck like splinters, worrying away and becoming mildly infected) because so, SO ... so often in my life, those thoughts that I have convinced myself are surely absolutely, without a doubt, truths (because I have collected an abundance of evidence and tucked it away in my ever vivid imagination) turn out to be the exact opposite. Clunk. It happens all the time.

Recently I've had one of these big opposite revelations when it comes to my No. 1 customer. My bread, butter, milk & cat food customer. The design director who I had been working with for 8 years was retiring. Eek ! I'd never worked with anyone else at this particular company. Doom n' Gloom settled in. The train of thoughts began. She'll leave, the work, my work will dry up completely ... (let's see where this goes) I'll be destitute, I'll lose my house. Where will I live ? I'll have to get a job as a cashier at the grocery store and see, deal and be nice to People all day long. That will kill me and then what will I do ?? And on ... and on ... Oh yeah !! it's a very l-o-n-g train this one is.

In truth, yet again, I've been proved tres wrong and it's turned out to be just the opposite.

Oppositeness at work - I'm working with two new women and the experience thus far appears to be even better than the previous 8 year (mostly) fabulous stint. Lots of new and increasingly challenging new projects with fantastic detailed art direction. Shut ! Up !!!

If only I would remember to apply this policy the next time that darn train is leaving the station.

parkour* n'est pas ?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Oliver waiting to be packed up and off to Newcastle Upon Tyne across the large pond

He plans to compete with his true love Miss Millie avec les Nose Noir in the extreme feline games held this year somewhere in the North of England. Their main event - egging- gathering eggs from nests high up in trees. Not only a sport involving much skill and dexterity but also stealth and ingenuity, for danger lurks round ever branch. Oliver's quite convinced that his abilities to zoom around and up ... things at top, top speeds (chairs, walls and such) will be an asset to his team of two. He can't wait and is hoping to bring home the gold (and the heart of his paramour). Madonna still has not called (sad cat face).

If his Mama gets her shit together she may include a few items for the team in his shipping crate.
Fortunately the team is well aware of Mama's procrastinating ways and I'm told they are not holding their collective breath in anticipation of les gifts from afar. Phew !

* l'art du feline d├ęplacement (warning la tete banging & tres loud music)

the during

Monday, April 26, 2010


a perfect stroll down a long wooded trail and Missy D's hangin' back waiting for her Mama

A meeting halfway. Lunch at this place which is always amazingly packed and bustling with people - where do they all come from I always wonder. The cowboy and I bought lots of produce and delicious smoked fish to take home with us. After chatting and lunching (and introducing) we all piled back into our vehicles in search of a homely beach the cowboy and I had stumbled upon not long ago figuring it would be the perfect place for a long walk (avec les chiens). I forgot to print out a little take along Google map and alas I couldn't find the homely beach again but we did manage to find a Nova Scotia picnic park with a perfect trail through the forest that went on forever and forever. Missy D was reunited with her best travelin' pal Miss J and the beautiful brown velvet hound Bess was amazingly well behaved.

And of course a lovely time was had by all. Anxiety's evil twin is always anticipation - the before part and occasionally the pointless and often painful rumination of the after. But thankfully, for me, anxiety almost always disappears completely in the during. Phew !



combo

Sunday, April 25, 2010



lilac buds

It's one of those mornings when I feel kinda silent. Quiet. Alone with my thoughts. Oh Oh !
Those darn thoughts ... they almost always get me into trouble.

We (the cowboy, Miss D, the brown hound Bess and I) are going on a wee road trip today. We're off to meet MLou & Lauchie for coffee at a midway point between the city and this little village. The cowboy's finally getting to meet the parents ... or that's how it feels to me. A combination of can't wait all stirred up with a good dose of dread* - the most deadliest of combos.

Anticipation + expectation = anxiety

* for the socially phobic - of which I am a card carrying member in tres good standing.

harbour

Saturday, April 24, 2010



The beginning of our early morning walk along the harbour's edge and toward the crescent beach

to conceal or hide, to keep or hold in the mind, to give shelter to

I love our tiny harbour. Last night when Miss D and I took our bedtime stroll down into the silence of the park we stood on the grass on the hill looking out into the straight and up into the sky. A sky striped turquoise, navy blue and mauve, the stars and the moon had just arrived and all of this incredible beauty was reflected perfectly in a harbour as still as glass. It takes my breath away... every day. I love our harbour.

I'm still thinking about last night's most excellent movie presentation No Country for Old Men Wow ! those darn Coen brothers at it again. Yes ! be warned - it is very violent, and yes it's one of the scariest, creepiest movies I've ever seen ... but a masterpiece indeed. Fantastic photography, incredible dialogue, great acting (Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin & Woody Harrelson), not to mention a wicked plot (based on the book by Cormac McCarthy). And oh boy Javier the freakiest freak ever. This movie's just jumped into our (the cowboy & Susan's) top 10 favourite movie list. And Gee ... um, don't think I'd wanna live (ever) in SouthWest Texas.




The lobster fisherman are loading traps on the docks and readying their boats for April 30

she

Friday, April 23, 2010




ya know Missy Dee (d, d), she's got cheeks of sweetness. Love her

the hurt you embrace becomes joy

Rumi

I am happy. I feel loved. I feel joy, bliss, contentment, excitement, enthusiasm, zeal, vim, vigour.
I feel lucky, grateful, blessed, safe, secure, cozy.

And a tiny part of me always feels a little sad. It's like a small niggling feeling, like a butterfly or moth fluttering inside me, barely taking up any space but always threatening to bloom into something big and potentially overwhelming. It's like sadness has a small, well kept apartment in my heart and she has been living there comfortably ... forever. I've always felt bad about this sadness, I've always felt that an ongoing goal in my life should be to evict her, get rid of her - once and for all. Be gone sadness ! But in recent days (weeks, months) I'm beginning to realize that instead of trying to make her go away I need instead to get to know her. I think I'll invite her in for tea and I'll befriend her ... because she is a part of me.

my heart has wings

Thursday, April 22, 2010


this mornings, sun's just up, walk with my best girl Missy D D Dee

Wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving

Kahlil Gibran

My heart has big jet airplane wings and it's flying at the speed of sound.





chili & brown sugar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



chili and brown sugar seared salmon with a heap of favourite tossed salad

Mix equal parts chili powder and brown sugar (2-3 tbsp. each) until combined.
Simple, simple unbelievably easy and incredibly delicious - adapted from everyday food

Rub mixture into all surfaces of salmon (chicken, scallops or shrimp). Heat a bit of canola oil in a non stick pan until very hot. Sear both sides well. With salmon or chicken place in an oven proof dish and finish cooking in a 375 oven. 10 mins. or so. Shrimp and scallops would be delicious threaded on skewers and barbecued (maybe some orange segments or pineapple chunks threaded in between).

This is one of our very favourite heart smart dinners. Last night I prepared 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts this way and topped a giant heap of you-name-it-it's-in-it salad (another favourite) with the sliced chicken breast straight from the oven and an orange ginger sesame* dressing. OMG Yum !!

The cowboy took one look at his plate and exclaimed #!!!*&%$!!@? (translation -Wow !)

* zest & juice of 1 orange, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp. each of the following honey, grated fresh ginger, sunflower oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce. Place in a small jar, shake well and drizzle.

all I want is you

Tuesday, April 20, 2010





more favourite photos of my girl, my love ... Miss Winnie Dixon

If I was a flower growing wild and free
All I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee.
And if I was a tree growing tall and green
All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves

If you were a river in the mountains tall,
The rumble of your water would be my call.
If you were the winter, I know I'd be the snow
Just as long as you were with me, when the cold winds blow.

If you were a wink, I'd be a nod
If you were a seed, well I'd be a pod.
If you were the floor, I'd wanna be the rug
And if you were a kiss, I know I'd be a hug

If you were the wood, I'd be the fire.
If you were the love, I'd be the desire.
If you were a castle, I'd be your moat,
And if you were an ocean, I'd learn to float.

All I want is you.

from the Juno soundtrack

I love Winnie D, the cowboy ... and Michael Cera.

We watched Juno last night. What a perfect movie. Every single little thing about it was perfect and wonderful. The perfect movie to watch on the eve of the cowboy's return. I'd borrowed it once before from the library years ago and soon after it was released on DVD. My defective DVD player (at the time) stopped, stuck, one third of the way into the movie and I never did see the entire thing. I really do have such a crush on our Canadian boy Michael Cera and I've watched every episode of Arrested Development at least twice (and you should too).

I sure don't see
what anyone can see
in anyone else
but you

I'm so darn happy I feel like I could burst.


big grins & butterflies

Monday, April 19, 2010






my favourite model Miss Winnie Dixon posing for me on the crescent beach

There is only one happiness in this life,
to love and be loved.

George Sand

Who knew ?

Big grins and butterflies this early morning 'cause the cowboy's nearly home. I spoke with him at 6am and he was less than 3 hours away. He is a crazy wonderful man and I can't wait to kiss that tall moustache hello. Hey there handsome ... we sure did miss you.

9:15am - He (and Bess) are home safe & soundly sleeping after their c-r-a-z-y long drive.

bye, bye

Sunday, April 18, 2010


picnic park beach - Holga photo by much loved nephew Michael

One man's junk is another man's treasure

Goodness and I do mean Good Ness. I am, after a much delayed start*, in the throws of quite a dramatic and spectacular clearing out. Purge, declutter, reevaluate, get rid of, donate, free to a good home ... and so on. You get my drift. And the amazing thing is I'm so into it. Once that darn safety seal was broken (and it was tricky to break), once I got started and had taken away the first Teal wagon full of stuff to the charity shop ... well the rest has been not only fairly easy but actually darn right pleasurable.

As I said to MLou yesterday in one of our, every few days, phone chats. I guess big love is a fantastic replacement for ... say my gigantic collection of Bon Appetite & Gourmet magazines, or piles of cookbooks that I haven't cracked the spine of in years, Converse sneakers in really good shape that I don't wear because they hurt my feet (not to mention the age appropriateness of such foot ware - they're pink) - but hey I can't get rid of them they're still in really good condition. Bye, bye. Bad photographs of Jake ... but it's Jake ! No it is not Jake it's a bad photo. Bye, bye. I have lots & lots of great photos of Jake (I'm not throwing him away). And so it goes.

All this talk of continued decluttering is getting my heart a poundin' I still have lots to do so I must get going. The thing that's so great about this process is once you begin to let go it just gets easier and easier as you continue. Missy D and I need to have our walk, then our breakfast and we're gonna keep on with this sayin' ... Bye, bye.

I take great comfort in believing that some of my stuff will soon become someone's treasure.

* Why do anything ahead of schedule when you could wait until the last crazed moment ?

An appropriate song. Wink

& associates

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Susan Black & Associates - Design & Illustration
Come meet my associates



1. Early morning blogging assistant Buddha Boy and tres rare, very tidy teak topped desk
2. Please do not disturb Don (Oliver) who insists he's brainstorming in his office with a window


1. Gussie, L'il Man or Mr. Mr. (our mostly feral boy) - I guess it must be break time
2. still break time and much more the norm - the very messy teak topped desk




1 - BleetNess wants my undivided attention, he has an issue which must be calmly discussed
2 - unable to resolve the issue he stages a lie-in ... no that is not a small sea lion atop the TTD*
3 - continued lie-in in progress while Don shows off his amiable & tres cooperative personality

It's a tough job being the boss of this crew. Sigh. I am the boss, is there any question of that ?

Well we're back to seasonable weather and temperatures (maybe even a little lower than normal) here in this little seaside village. It's windy and the harbour's turned from blue to a red clay terracotta colour and the surface of the ocean is churning with whitecaps. It's chilly and the furnace is humming this early morning and Missy D and I will bundle up for our walk. Mixed precipitation in the forecast which means rain & snow ... but that's OK 'cause we have a busy two days of inside stuff. We'll get the fire going and we'll tuck in snug as bugs in this old brick house and putter away at our list. The cowboy (and Bess) are on their way home... hooray !

*TTD teak topped desk

true love

Friday, April 16, 2010


the crescent beach yesterday morning - muted, calm and grey

worth reminding oneself of regularly ...

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I Corinthians 13:4-8

Love this quote and always have. I'm on the fly this early morning ... I have an 8am apt. so it's off to the lands of bubbles and scent and then out the door with my girl Dee for a quick stroll along the harbour's edge. It's another grey, cold day here in this little seaside village. I'll put a fire on, make a cup of tea and have a cozy day of drawing and preparing for the return of our handsome cowboy and the beautiful brown hound - a few days away. We sure do miss them.

I know I'm behind the times with this one but Hey ! no wonder they call Jay Z a genuis and Wow! Alicia Keys* what a voice, not to mention the spectacular images of NYC.

* this song was a hit soon after Jake died - oh, it made me cry ... it still does. I loved that dog.

when you're lonely ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010






Last night's walk along the harbour with my girl Missy D

where do you go when you're lonely ?
where do you go when you're blue ?
I'll follow you

Ryan Adams

The last time the cowboy went on the big cross Canada road trip with the brown hound, back to a former life, I'd known him 16 days. I made him two music CD's to take with him, you know the infamous mixed tape - 32 songs that I loved, that I thought spoke somehow of me, of us, and of this big thing that was just blossoming (albeit with a vengeance). I didn't even really know what kind of music he listened to. I look back now and think what a brazen (and kinda confident) gesture that was on my part. I made CD covers (because I'm a designer) I hand wrote all the songs and artist names neatly, the cover photos were of Winnie and Piper Belle (so he and Bess would remember their new found pack). It's that kooky kind of thing you do when you've just fallen madly in love and you're feeling carefree & crazy. And he did listen to them, as he drove through the days and nights, on his long, long drive ... he listened to them over & over again.

He still listens to them often and this Ryan Adams song - Track No. 1 on CD 2 is one of his favourites ... mine too.