Sunday, November 30, 2014

I am completely smitten with the very colourful & lovely community of Lunenburg, NS 

small & simple joys

Saturday, November 29, 2014

the new nest of down & flannel ... missing from photo are Oliver & Virg (my constant cat companions ;-) 

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. 

 Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. 

This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays. 

 Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Yah ! Ralph, he's another favourite of mine.

Since moving to Lunenburg 2 weeks ago today, I've been  practicing  a combo of living in the moments and scheduling myself to the hilt. I call it planned spontaneity ;-)

I have a loose plan for each & every day, a small want to-do list with terribly exciting (seriously), small joys such as go for a walk up & down a few hilly streets, bring in firewood, make soup, do my 26 minutes of yoga routine, write & address 5 Christmas cards and I spend the biggest chunk of my days working on my current, quite time consuming, collage & paint-a-thon gift & home decor project (one day very soon to be revealed).

I begin my every day around 6am with coffee (on a timer - hooray !) & journal writing/planning in my new cozy bedroom nest until 7:30. Then up yoga, breakfast & I try to be at my desk and cutting bits of paper, glueing etc by 9am. I plan my errands post office, groceries etc around my walking time. I aim myself somewhere & walk to & from that place. This is a perfect walking community with the extra added benefit of being tremendously great exercise as it's so darn hilly. Up & down, down & up, past all the beautifully painted historic homes & almost always with a view of the sea. I've been enjoying not cooking dinners and have been instead sipping on mugs of soup or eating crackers & cheese and/or peanut butter at my desk each evening, though I always plan lovely dinners with lots of left-overs when the Prince & young Samuel arrive for their weekly visit. When I have a project on the go I try and stay working away at my desk until 8-9pm. Back to the nest avec those dear, sweet cats + my current book and/or a little NetFlix.

My days of late are completely filled with a series of small & simple joys.

an even keel

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

nautical art is everywhere / early morning in my back yard / close up map of olde town Lunenburg / the houses have so much character / a little snow in the front street side garden / hilly, hilly - my walks are such great exercise / standing in front of "my" house / golden light beauty

Let the wave of memory, the storm of desire, 
the fire of emotion pass through you 
without affecting your equanimity.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

I had a bit of a down day yesterday, the sad wagons began circling. One little sad bit floats down & lands on me and quickly I find myself scanning my life for more bits of sad - I can make this hurt, I can make this a big, sad deal. I've been waiting' on you sadness, I've been expecting you'd show up. It's been a month or two of passings - of final goodbyes to much loved dogs & cats. First to my own senior pets BleetNess & Winnie Dixon both nearly 16 years old, then everyone's favourite blogging cat Estorbo (who brought so much joy to so many) also nearly 15 or 16 and finally yesterday I received news that Juicy my dogson was also saying that big goodbye to his people.

More sad news from home, illness & aging is taking it's toll and I feel guilty I've been feeling so OK lately, so happy, so carefree. But I've been practicing being in my own moments, staying on an even keel ... embracing equanimity and it feels good. Really good.

I love the idea of not having opinions about people & events. Opinions are really judgements & attachments and I find I change my mind like the wind anyway. Opinions get me riled up and right and ultimately embarrassed to be so adamant one day and on the fence or regretful the next. I'm letting myself off the hook with this new practice ... trying to be neutral about everything. To be patient about everything & to have faith that life unfolds as it's meant to. Sadness & loss & leaving are a part of life.

You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.
Marcus Aurelius

new for midwest/cbk

Monday, November 24, 2014

6 new Susan Black designs licensed with the fabulous, artist focused, gift & home decor company Midwest/CBK - check out my latest contribution to the Beautiful Soul collection in their NEW November 2014 catalogue here - looking for a Midwest/CBK retailer near you ? call 1 800 394 4225 - see more of this collection on my portfolio blog + Facebook page.

past due

Sunday, November 23, 2014

my paws on Creative Director + my girl Dee's sweet face, my new screen saver / a hedge of pretty red berries along my walk to Lunenburg's every early Thursday mornings farmers market / this home's gorgeous front hallway / a map of this gorgeous & very interesting place / Oliver works so hard / the last honeysuckle blossom in my house's garden / kitchen (back) window avec fridge map / this is how they paint the historic homes here / no cats on the counter !! (of course ;-) 

It's not about forgetting the past, 
it's about accepting the past. 
Melanie Koulouris 

Yesterday marked the 1 week anniversary of me settling into my new home, a 6 month sublet in the heart of olde town Lunenburg. A beautiful furnished historical house, a place where I will work, explore and find my next more permanent home - here in Lunenburg I'm hoping. As I mentioned in my last post I have a big, rather time consuming creative project on the go which has kept me busy and at my desk morning through night with the exception of nearly every day forays out for exercise & exploration - it's super hilly here, straight-up hilly so it's fantastic exercise going up & down (literally) the streets. I'm very thankfully to have this project & the next to keep me occupied almost 'til Christmas as I settle in and get used to living somewhere else after living at 29 Black Street for almost 22 years.

I must say, it's been a breeze thus far - this settling in. In fact it's been so smooth, thrilling & painless that I have been poking at that "ease", picking at it - not believing it to be really true. I'd said the big goodbye to my beloved Winnie Dixon, even though we had been contemplating saying that goodbye before this winter season set in so her arthritic body would not suffer through another winter of ice, frigid cold & drifts of snow. It was hard, it was sad - for the first week I thought I'd die of missing her but it faded and I know that the decision was right (no matter how much & often I try to make myself second guess it). I've packed up all my troubles, my dreams, hopes & plans for an exciting new future along with my art supplies & my cats Oliver & Virgil and moved to a brand new place (a 3 hr drive from Black St.) and I don't feel tremendous sadness, grief ... angst. What's up with that ?? I've been anticipating a big crash & burn ... any day now, any moment ... surely it will hit me.

But it hasn't hit me. I keep wondering am I in some kind of denial about everything ? I'm pretty sure I'm not, I really don't do denial ... I much prefer full-on drama. I'm the first one to admit I can & will get myself in a state over lots of things but this transition has been simple. So ... I've decided to stop picking at how good this move has been for me, for us ... for all of us. I'll stop trying to force upset & anxiety to come for a visit. I was more than ready to move, this decision was way past due. I realize in hindsight Winnie Dixon was the final tie binding me to that former place ... that last chapter was the story of her most excellent & long life. Her spirit will be with me always, & I know she's thrilled for this new me in this new place ...

What you need to know about the past 
is that no matter what has happened, 
it has all worked together to bring you to 
this very moment, and this is the moment 
you can choose to make everything new. 

the Atlantic

Friday, November 21, 2014

so thrilled that I now live on the Atlantic ocean - Lunenburg is famous for boats & boat building

My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The number 1 thing on my list of must-haves for my new home was - an easy walk to the sea. Lunenburg is surrounded on 2 sides by ocean, you can smell the salt air, the real ocean air. Rugged and briny a different smell than my former sea side walks - much less tame smelling.

I was living on another coast, the North Shore of Nova Scotia, in another county and along a mostly sedate, sheltered, the warmest waters North of Virginia coastline - the Northumberland Strait the 7km-14km body of water that separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island. Now I'm living very near wide open ocean. Lunenburg itself is in a bit of a sheltered cove/harbour but the infamous spit of sand Sable Island* with it's hundreds of shipwrecks is roughly 300 kms directly out into the sea. Currently reading the Lunenburg library book The August Gales: The Tragic Loss of Fishing Schooners in the North Atlantic 1926 and 1927 ... soaking up as much local history as I can (& this is a very historic place).

I have 2 big pre-holiday creative project deadlines I'm currently working on which is fantastic & is keeping me busy, that and getting myself sorted & settled in my new home - bank accounts opened, new library cards obtained, phone & internet accounts, checked out the weekly farmers market & lots & lots of hilly, ocean side walks & explorations. I'm completely smitten with this new place and I so looking forward to sharing this new adventure with you all.  Stay tuned ... please.

* Sable Island youtube info

a new lease on life

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

my new home as of this weekend - lovely seaside Lunenburg, Nova Scotia I'm on a different coast, I'm on the Atlantic ocean

It is 
what I was born for 
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world
to instruct myself
over & over ...
Mary Oliver

next chapters ... or maybe it's more like the second book in a trilogy ... my trilogy

they say your life changes dramatically every 7 years, someone said that I'm sure of it. This blog turned 7 on July 13th of this past year, this incredible record of my life in photos & words, honestly my most cherished "thing" in life is this journal of memories, change, appreciation, struggle(s), growth & love. BIG, huge love & lots of it.

I'm sure to many of you reading this post it will seem like a shock to learn that I have moved (to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia) just like that. Like Samantha the good witch on the TV program from my childhood Bewitched I've twinkled my nose a couple of times, said yes to opportunity & adventure. Said yes also to both trust & faith. Said a final goodbye to my home, 29 Black Street, of nearly 22 years and said a sudden but resounding YES ! to a 6 month sublet, in a gorgeous historic house, fully furnished in the heart of old towne Lunenburg. 

I knew this was where I wanted to be even though I haven't been to this community for nearly 30 years and then it was a brief visit that I can barely recall. I said yes to the 6 month house rental without seeing one photo of the interior. I didn't feel frightened or nervous or worried at all ... I felt mostly relief. I just knew it was all right, all meant to be. My one little word for this year is faith and as this year nears it's end I'm realizing what an absolutely perfect word/practice having faith is. Especially having faith in myself, my choices and my decisions.

I LOVE it here ... I am giddy with delight & anticipation. The house is beautiful and perfect in every way. Things that aren't perfect have become perfect because I am allowing them to be exactly what that are, whatever that might be.

I feel like I have a new lease on life ... and in fact I do ;-)

Oliver & Virgil have moved with me. I bought them little tartan collars & ID tags just in case they escaped their new home. Doug, Samuel & Itty Bitty Betty have remained in Pugwash to finish the second floor readying for the sale of 29 Black Street (I will soon add a link to the 4 sale site in my sidebar). Doug & Sam will be visiting us regularly, winter weather permitting, and in the meantime we are all snug as bugs in our new home & I have lots of exciting new work projects on the go to keep me busy - that along with meeting as many people as I can here in Lunenburg, scoping out my next home and exploring (with camera in tow) this amazing place.

Surrender to what is.
Let go of what was.
Have faith in what will be.
Sonia Ricotti

my new home for the next 6 months, my new office & my Creative Director Oliver, working hard as usual ;-)