Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am...

I have a friend she is a photographer.  She was saying she was thinking a lot about labels ... labels others put on us but also the labels we put on ourselves, then she  found this inspiring campaign (   It is In recognition of the many roles that women hold, they asked women photographers to shoot a self portrait holding a word other than “photographer” that represented some aspect of who they are. For all they’ve been through, for all they do to improve the world around them every day in ways big and small, this is a celebration of strong, empowering, inspiring women in the photography community and everywhere. 
My friend is looking for others to volunteer for her to do a similar project.  I said of course... but then I thought what am I?? 
My first thought was.. I am a mother.
but then I thought I am also a whole lot of other things.  I happen to be on Maternity leave right now, and Chicken Little is the center of my universe but that is not the only thing that defines me.  Certainly before him I would have said something else.. but what would I choose to identify myself.

I am  a domestic goddess
I am  a fantastic cook
I am  a biologist
I am  an artist
I am a painter
I am resilient, adaptable, a chameleon.
I am  a wife
I am  a daughter
I am a dreamer
I am a liver of life in all its breadth and depth.
I am a wine drinker, a coffee drinker, a peanut butter aficionado....
I am a community volunteer
I am a friend
I am a seeker of truths, an asker of questions.
I am a shoulder to cry on
I am a bibliophile
I am an ordinary girl. The girl next door.
I am living life to its fullest

I suppose it doesn’t really matter, it’s just a photograph.  But somewhere inside I feel like it’s a snap shot for history and a statement about myself. 

No pressure. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

confessions of a bibliophile....

I’m a book reading kind of gal.  I’m not so much interested in TV.  But books are like little escapes from reality.  About 6 years ago I started keeping track of the books I’ve read.  I average about 15 books a year give or take but I don’t think much about it.  However when my mother asked what I was reading and I said... it’s not my usual genre, although I’m enjoying it...  it’s a mystery  -  called Mistress in the Art of Death.   She said – well that’s why you are reading it.  And I realized that it’s true – I have a penchant for books with long winded and odd titles.   So I looked back at my recent reads...  

  • Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
  • Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by  Robyn Scott
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lweycka
  • The Intimate Secrets of a London Call-Girl by Belle de jour
  • Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the west by Gregory Macguire
  • The Cure For Death By Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
  • Diary Of A Compost Hotline Operator: Edible Essays on City Farming by Spring Gillard

Ok so ... yeah.. I guess I like odd titles.  As for genre...  They run the gamut...  A murder mystery from 12th century barbaric England,  A memoire of growing up in remote Botswana,  A simple light-hearted comedy about  an eccentric 83-year-old and his antics, A  frank dish on the details of a call girl for an elite agency,  A fantastical tale of satire relating to the Wizard of Oz,  A bleak and violent coming-of-age novel set in 1941, and  The diary entries from a gal who works for Vancouver's non-profit urban agriculture group.

Hmm -  so what’s next?? 

If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.  ~Toni Morrison

Actually what I would like.  It’s a dream of mine and the only way to make dreams into reality is to do it...  I want to illustrate a children’s book.   I suppose since I don’t have hoards of people asking me to illustrate their brilliant story -  I will likely have to write it too... this seems to be my biggest hurdle.  A good children’s book is harder to write than it might seem.  You need something that intrigues the adult and the child, is clever, possibly written in rhyming verse and about a topic that I might at least be interested in illustrating.  Namely something under the water. 

 I think about some of my favourite children’s stories...

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

While Nancy Tillman might be new on the scene, over a million copies of The Little Mouse the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear have been sold since its publication in 1982, and P.D. Eastman’s Are you my Mother?  is still being printed 50 years since its debut.    While I am not looking to go down in history – I am trying to learn something about what makes children’s books stand out in our hearts and memories while others disappear into obscurity, and no one has ever even heard of them.  So far my story writing career is at a stand still.  But I haven’t given up hope yet! 

Most books, like their authors, are born to die; of only a few books can it be said that death hath no dominion over them; they live, and their influence lives forever.  ~J. Swartz

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Art Workshop Fun!!!

This past weekend.. was mine.  Dedicated to me.  Well at least in this house it was.  I spent my weekend at a Mixed Medium & Design workshop.  Sponsored by our local art group, and taught by the lovely Joan Mostad.   It wasn’t a given that I would go.  I’ve never been away from Chicken Little for more than an hour or two.  So the thought of taking a whole weekend for myself, coming home only to feed and return seemed like a big step.  I’ve not done mixed media before.... so I read the supply list.... it included the following:

* rigid painting surfaces
* Acrylic Paints, brushes etc.
* Matt and/or gloss medium
* Modeling paste or drywall spackle
* Rubbing Alcohol
* Sketch paper or book, drawing pencils, white chalk.
* Other acrylic mediums (crackle paste, tar gel, heavy gel, pumice, retarder, glazing mediums etc etc )
* Gesso
* Ink
* Oil and/or chalk pastels
* Crayons
* Sponges
* Exacto-knife
* Scissors
* Ruler
* Eye dropper or pipette
* Old tooth brushes
* Old worn out ruined paint brushes
* Sand paper
* Stencils
* Rubber stamps
* Wax paper
* Saran wrap
* Aluminium foil – or  craft foil
* Anything to mix into modeling paste or spackle to create texture: beads, sand, fibres, fabric, string, mesh, netting, cheese cloth, tissue paper, rice paper, shapes to press into the paste to make an imprint. Be creative and experiment. (Walk around your house and see what “might” work. You just never know what might be the perfect thing.)

I’m a watercolour kind of gal... this list was so far beyond my comfort zone I just couldn’t resist.  And so I cajoled DH into being a full time parent for the weekend.  I raided every cupboard in my house and then some to come up with a hodgepodge collection of supplies.  And I embarked on a fun and interesting workshop.

“Running Tide”
Mixed Media
© RiverWalker Arts
Chicken Little was FINE!  I missed him during the day, but he and DH had a great time.  

At the end of the weekend I came home with two Mixed Media paintings... 
"Faery Haunt"
Mixed Media
© RiverWalker Arts
" Here in cool grot and mossy cell
We rural fays and fairies dwell;
Though rarely seen by mortal eye,
When the pale moon, ascending high,
Darts through yon lines her quiv'ring beams;
We frisk it near these crystal streams."
 William Shenstone (1714-63)
Lines inscribed on a tablet in the grounds at the poet’s residence

What do you think??? Shall I stick to watercolour?  Or should I branch out??
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.  ~Scott Adams

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This is a baby post... I’m just letting you know that upfront.

March 28th 2012

This is a baby post... I’m just letting you  know that upfront.

The best  One of the best pieces of parenting advice I was ever given was “Don’t read too much”.  And for the most part I try to keep to that.   But I got a bit off track and I broke down and started reading about FOoD.   Yup.

For some reason I, who normally really do believe in  - WHATEVER WORKS IS PROBABLY WORKING.  Started feeling pressured to start feeding Chicken Little something solid.  Something not milk.  And despite the fact that I can’t possibly imagine eating that nasty looking (and smelling) pabulum (now more trendily called “cereal” ) I somehow got convinced this is what I should start feeding my child. (somehow I forgot for a moment that millions of babies have survived just fine in all cultures of the world WITHOUT “cereal”).  Did Chicken Little just love that pabulum??   notsomuch. Gag. and Puh! 

Ok fair enough .. after all even I wouldn’t eat it.   But after Chicken Little rejected, Banana, Avocado, Squash and pretty much anything I came near him with at the end of my little spoon.... I thought I’d just have a look-see at what Dr. Google had to say...

Dr. Google said :

1.       Thou MUST :       Start Solids at 4 months,
                                    Start solids at 6 months,
DELAY solids for a full 12 months....

( that was clear...glad the “experts” are all on the same page there... )

2.       In the first year:
a.        DO NOT mash food or serve small, tiny pieces of food - Serve large chunks that can be easily grasped.
b.      foods MUST be sufficiently mashed or pureed so that they can be swallowed without risk of choking
(great help that was... Hand your baby some fresh avocado slices or mash it up with a fork. It’s still an avocado.  )

3.       Regarding First Foods:
a.       infant rice cereal  has ALWAYS  been considered the best first food for baby 
b.      rice and other highly processed grain cereals actually could be among the worst foods for infants
(oh great more conflicting advice to get parents all in a dither)

4.       Introduce garlic and spices ONLY with the consent of your child's doctor.
 (what??  Are you serious???  -  Parents elsewhere in the world must certainly take a more freewheeling approach, starting babies on heartier, more flavorful fare — from meats  as first foods in African countries to hummus in the middle east  to curry in India.... a little more Googling and I find out...    Oceanic tribes traditionally start babies on liver, fish and grubs.  Polynesians – on breadfruit and coconut cream.  Japanese - on milled rice, fish, and  fish roe. )

Some other random Dr. Google rules included...

Thou MUST follow the FOUR DAY RULE...  and steer clear of this long list of “foods to avoid” (like wheat, corn, fish, pork, nuts, strawberries, citrus etc etc etc etc etc etc.... )

NEVER replace breast milk or formula until after 12 months of age – serious health risks are possible...

NEVER give honey to a baby under one year of age..  or egg white, or peanut butter or... or... or....

There were details of what to feed, how often and  how much - down to the last teaspoon, lots of rules and many of them contradictory....

... all in all I came away from the adventure on Google reminding myself never to read too much...

My radical, earth-shattering advice: HAVE FUN. FEED YOUR BABY. WHATEVER WORKS IS PROBABLY WORKING...

*sigh*  there went the entire day’s worth of napping minutes... wasted,  when I could have been doing something much more creative!!


A month later
May 2, 2012 

Chicken Little is 8 months old.  He likes strawberries – raw, and whole thank you.  He still does not like anything off a spoon  -  He will feed himself thank you...   and consequently requires a bath after every meal.