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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Happy New Year!!!

It's been a year full of exciting experiences as well as soul crushing experiences as well. Began in 2012, with an extreme family issue that continued throughout 2013, having devastating effects that may very well be permanent and may never be resolved. Just when we thought it cannot possibly get worse, we learned never to say that, because it can and it did :-(  Many have said to me, "you gotta write a book" however, no, that won't solve anything, would take the rest of my days, I don't really have the talent to make it great, and on top of it all could actually continue the destructive affects that the catalyst person had on my siblings Dad and I our whole lives and the destruction they left us and do more harm than good to anyone. Time will tell if people and circumstances will heal. Sadly, I suspect no but have to learn to live with that. Life is very short really.

My camera breaking was not a fun event either. It took away the ability to do something I enjoy - taking photos. I do use my boyfriend's but I miss my zoom lens.

Never have I been a superstitious person but I am glad to see a year with 13 in it gone.

Exciting events included moving to what will be a permanent till the end of life home. It isn't as gorgeous and enjoyable an area as where we lived near the lake and conservation areas in Whitby but we like it very much. Without my camera, I don't have the drive as much to visit those areas anyway as that was half the enjoyment. There are many areas near where we live that are gorgeous to visit, such as Rosetta McClain Gardens and the Bluffs. We will hopefully get to them more as time goes on. I plan to visit the bluffs, though really I was not a huge fan of them when I lived in Scarborough in the early 90s, being scared of the area really, but I want to search for fossils in the rocks in the spring and get some images of those with John's camera. We are also closer to The Leslie Spit which we love going to.

My kids come by often and they like our place. We also enjoy using the pool, hot tub and exercise room. We have yet to bring and watch a movie on the theatre movie screen that is available but we are planning to do that soon! Our place is easy for me to get to work and we no longer have to drive to the grocery store or any mall to shop. We are able to walk! So awesome.

There is so much to be thankful for in life and though huge and little challenges, some that must be accepted as impassable, some we are able control, will always present themselves, life can be exciting and beautiful if we work to make it so. So many have less tools than any one of us are equipped with.

Here is to 2014 - wow, 2014, it seems like 1980 was just a few years ago.

Saturday, 28 December 2013


My boyfriend's daughter brought some cookies she had made, from a vintage recipe she found on a blog. They were absolutely to Die For! She added to the recipe: substitute lime juice and zest add about 1/2 tsp Appleton Estate rum to frosting

The Blog

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Beautiful Destruction

Little did I imagine just how ominous John's statement would be Saturday night when we were in the Loblaw's parking lot at 10pm awestruck over the beauty of the sparkling backlit ice covered trees. Here I am admiring the chandelier look of the tree branches laden with ice and he mentions that if there is too much ice on them the weight will break the branches of a lot of trees. Me? I was all gung ho about going out the next day to get some real photos as opposed to the crappy cell phone images we got while out shopping. I was so worried it'd all be gone. Wow, little did we know :-(

It is like a war zone out there. Silly as we see it now, safe in our condo viewing the images, I was bent on going to Rosetta McClean Gardens to take some shots of ice laden dead flowers, trees, pine trees, berry bushes and such. Getting out to Ellesmere we run into the first of a series of non working street lights. A few more lights and I am now thinking "we are morons, this is stupid". As I entered the older more home areas along Midland we realized the magnitude of the destruction that surrounded us. Really, overlooking a major mall out our condo windows, we really had no idea :-( My jaw hung open as we passed literally hundreds and hundreds of downed huge tree branches, power lines swinging in big arched curves and wrapped around huge piles of fallen tree branches, huge limbs across the right lane and countless spots of chaos. Tree branches hung down almost to the roof of any cars passing below in the right hand lane closest to the curb. Stupidly, the occasional car zoomed through a major intersection, not caring about the "treat it as a 4 way stop" law. The only smash up we saw was some BMW sedan in a small intersection on Brimley, and these intersections were actually a Relief compared to the major intersections.

We made it to Rosetta. It was unbelievable. Tree branches were everywhere. We did not go very far into the park. The crackle of the high swaying branches was scary enough but at least 5 times a huge thunder crack could be heard and within viewing range, down came huge branches from these old trees. Sadness is what I felt seeing some of these magnificent trees being felled by the ice which had built up on their branches.

Juxtaposed with all this destruction we couldn't help but say "isn't that Gorgeous" pretty much every few minutes. Little gems of jewelled stems, leaves, berries, pine branches, grasses, etc. were everywhere to be seen. We had to crunch our boots down hard in the surface to make sure we could walk ok. We also were scared and thrilled at the same time because any time we had no choice but to cross under a large tree with ice laden branches, we realized really, how silly we probably were and how chancy this was. We did not venture near the huge trees deeper into the park and we stayed mainly around the entrance fence and in open areas.

Though this was probably not one of the wisest photography choices I've made, I somehow am glad I saw this, was out in it, because I would never have realized the impact of this what seemed like a nothing storm, never have actually seen the destruction that some people had to endure to their homes, cars, beautiful trees, churches, businesses, and everywhere one turned. It truly was unbelievable.

These photos and the beauty in them belie the true awfulness that we saw in order to be able to take them.

Friday, 20 December 2013

An Early New Years Resolution :-)

I seriously have been debating Not going back to painting. Since 2008, it honestly, if I am boldly honest with myself, has Not been working. Whether it is eyesight changes, bad working space issues, light issues, focusing problems - whatever, no idea, but it just is Not working. I painted better at 17 years old lol! It began with a personal portrait I was doing that was working so well it was like it was painting itself. Someone stood in front of the window I worked from the light of to measure it, and instead of getting up and waiting, I stubbornly continued. Big mistake, huge, to quote that movie lol! because I messed it up beyond repair. I had to toss the painting :-( I began 2x more and nada, nope, no way was it going to ever work again. I was using the portrait for a portrait painting in acrylic thread on an art forum too and had to embarrassingly cancel it mid way :-( The next 2 portraits I took on as commissions did not go well either. Something was wrong though I ignored it. I kept on trying, wasting money, materials and precious time - shit I don't have a lot of. So, ok, fine, I will drop it. And do I want to start trying abstract? No, doesn't come natural to me and frankly, not appealing a venture though I see abstracts I drool over sometimes. However, I can still draw and draw well! Boring as it is really lol! But, I was looking at something recently and I realized that there is a medium I may get excited over again. Yes, it's wimpy and wishy washy, low on punch with great dark darks, but it is enticing none the less. Silverpoint. Do I know anything about it? Nope. Am I going to dive in head first? Of course :-) Who lives twice around here? Not me! lol! Granted, my partner has some materials I can begin with (no, the medium still exists lol! it's not a 16th century dead medium or anything). So, in the new year, I will begin, probably with my old fav - a portrait. Maybe of my partner, maybe my daughter, not sure, but someone whom I am familiar with well. Silverpoint appeals for the very fact that I Love Silver, I love tarnishing and it is not a forgiving medium - hence it will be a challenge and maybe a struggle but I want to try it :-)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Waiting For Spring - May Redstart

Just a cute little shot from May 2013, not long before summer, of a Red-start at Thickson Woods. Miss you spring and summer.

Thrilled to Learn Something in Photoshop Elements!

This morning, wanted to go back to a photo I opened a couple days ago but hadn't time to work with till the weekend. I wanted to sharpen the bird and details such as the fish, but have the water less sharp and recede into the background so shallow the depth of field slightly.

In a few steps, my boyfriend walked me through me how to use the quick select tool, create a mask of the bird and water below, then select that shape and reverse the selection, add a gradient mask which will recede the sharpened details back to the original blurred background below but in a nice progressive stage. To make it more natural, a Gaussian blur goes on the whole black and white mask then :-) That's the short of it and I Like the result, it is what I wanted!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Itchin' to Paint

Unfortunately, Not painting painting, wall painting. Our place was light whittish pinky when we got it but to paint it all right away would have been very taxing on my partner, as he'd just done it for someone else recently, so I figured "we can definitely live with it" for a year. However, I bought one camel colour for the spare room and I may tackle it myself on some days off I have. If I painted a bathroom at 7 months pregnant I think I can definitley do it myself :-) I'm a lazy room painter, I won't fill holes and stuff, figuring I'm just putting the pictures and things back in the same spot anyway, buuuut I guess I'll do it right lol! Have my warm Mexican influenced colours pretty much decided on but they may change at the last minute. Never know :-)