Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween Costume Ideas –

Tomato Costume2


Apple Core Costume2

Apple Core

Chihuahua Costume2

Mexican Wrestler – Chihuahua Costume

Oak Leaves and Acorn2


I think I would wear them & I’m not sure my dog would approve of the outfit – she prefers natural.  I thnk my favourite is the Acorn.


+8C and hot – Can You Relate?

Every Canadian loves to talk weather. We are all experts about the weather we know2014 - 2 040Rszd.  West Coasters know about rain, Westerners from the Prairies know about Chinooks and floods, Northern areas know about short/long nights, long/short days and plenty of snow and bugs and the Maritimers know about it all in a way too painful way.  Its winters like this past one that has me wondering about my choices.  Of course some Canadians are still being bombarded with snow, wind and ice.  But I live in Toronto – not as warm as Vancouver but mostly the envy of other Canadians, weather wise.  It is a trade-off for the lack of beauty and fresh air.   Today I had my 1st lovely walks of the year with my Chihuahua.  Not since early December have we been out for more than 15 minutes.  Each occasion I had us both so wrapped up it was hardly worth the effort.  Most of the winter my dog would head for her bed when the coat and boots came out.

Usually I find myself commiserating with immigrants about our weather.  Toronto is full of immigrants and my area is so thick with them I often feel why bother to travel.  I’m serious – my son’s grade school offered 70 language translations and support.  I didn’t even know there were 70 languages spoken.  I grew up in Canada when our winters were often this harsh and since the ’80’s I have felt like I was telling fairy tales to the new immigrants.  We had less in common than our accents and clothes sense  indicated.

This winter I can’t connect to their looks of astonishment about all the Arctic Freezes or Polar Vortexes.  You get kind of racist about it – you look at certain people and you immediately judge how they are relating to the weather.  Being a white Anglo-Canadian I am programed to be sensitive;   to be respectful to other cultures who foolishly venture into our country.  2014 - 1 Dali in sockand Boots 001RszdI honestly have begun to judge all people from Indian, Africa, the Caribbean and the Philippians to be ill prepared or just don’t relate.  It pains me to see them walking around in the cold.  Today I was talking to another small dog owner and we both were on the same page.  She was a Russian immigrant.  If we have anything in common – it is the weather.  We both chose small dogs – we both didn’t brave the cold to take them for walks either.

Good Jobs & Bad Jobs

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Palette Knife Workshop

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Worx of Art Class

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Discussing the next step with a student.

The definition of a bad job is a bad employer.   I have had teaching jobs, illustration jobs, drafting jobs, retail or any type of job, that were horrid simply because the employer didn’t respect me or failed to pay.  I’ve worked in manual jobs where I enjoyed the work because what I did was appreciated by the employer.  When you don’t have respect or you worry about being paid for your efforts, the joy of working is not there even if you love the work.

These days I’m an artist and art teacher, full-time.   To be an artist full-time you need support – financial back-up or become famous.  As I am not famous I have back-up.  Every day I am thankful that I now have back-up and I don’t take it for granted.

In the past I played a game in my head to keep the work challenge fresh, when going to work was hard.  I thrive on challenge and I made my various jobs into daily challenges.  I also looked for jobs that used the skills I have.  The skills I have are all art related and when you work in a discipline that is artistic – many employers feel they don’t need you and your job is always at risk.  You also don’t get the respect other workers get.   For many years I took on Illustration jobs and Design jobs that were done at night after a full day of work.  It was hard work.  But I remember many times not wanting to go to my day job. I struggled with my art – which floundered.  Now I look back and hope I don’t have to relive any of that.  I love to teach.  I love to see the art that my students do and the satisfaction they have when they are creative.  It is the freedom they have and that I did not have that is the difference. In teaching you have to be awake and focused on your students all the time.  It is harder than it looks but the challenge is always there and the payback is great when your student does well.  Working freelance has no benefits or retirement funds.  I think I will be teaching until I can’t get out to teach.

Eavesdropping for Art

conversationEavesdropping for Art was a hobby of mine a few decades ago.  It was a guilty pleasure that gave me some very surreal moments.  It started out quite innocently.  I would go to the gym after work and on the walk home I’d stop at a restaurant for supper.  I was single and quite frankly after a long day it was rather nice to sit alone and read the local rag.  Sometimes I’d work on some sketches – thinking about a new project.  One day I overheard a conversation and that lead to my starting a small cartoon. The conversation was this – “So I went to South Africa for my holiday.  It was great.  No car bombs or anything’.   The next one I remember was – ” I seem to like violent men”.   All these small pieces of conversations were like a side-order to my meals.  I never was interested in the actual conversation – those small nuggets were too good on their own.



Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep ~

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us ACCIDENT.

Banana Brownies

A great recipe – again. Love Brownies but sometimes they can be like toffee. I bet there’s a recipe for zucchini brownies somewhere.

A Taste of Morning

This is a brownie recipe that I love because the brownies are super moist and let me make use of extra bananas, and an added bonus is that they freeze well. I just made a batch to put out for guests!Image

Banana Brownies

Not overly sweet or overly chocolatey, these have the added flavor and moistness of banana.

3/4 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour

2 T. Dutch-process cocoa

1/4 t. salt

4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped or just over 3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. unsalted butter

1-2 lg. eggs (use 1 for denser brownies, 2 for cakier brownies)

1/2 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1 c. mashed overripe banana (about 2 lg.)

1 t. vanilla extract

3.75 oz. chopped milk chocolate or 3/4 c. milk chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9” square baking pan…

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That Smell Reminds Me of … Comfort

Last night I was hugging my dog.  2012-5-4-DaliatPlay (11)RszdClr_Painting3She’s a delightful little bundle.  I keep her clean but  she smells like a dog.  Last night I was breathing in her boggy odour and Christmas came to mind.  That thought has been plaguing me and today I grabbed her and took another deep breath.  Today I got deep comfort.  So the childhood memories that are attached to that fragrance are all wrapped up in the dog smell.  Dogs have been at my side [cats too] all my life and have given me lots of comfort.

I have a very keen sense of smell – a family gift.  When I travel or am somewhere special I always test the air and enjoy it like a fine wine, even if it is Paris fumes.  These smells enrich images of places.  Apparently smell brings back memories and I have to say it does for me.  Memories come with smell attached.  I can’t  think of the horse I had as a young person and not remember hugging her neck and breathing in her lovely scent.  I remember hay rides, the grass and ocean smells of the West Coast, damp dark starry nights, snow in the air, the earthiness of spring and the acrid smell of fall leaves.   Of course I try to remember the odours that are good ones.  I try not to think on smells that I am repulsed by – like hyacinths.

Weight – The Obsession & The Resolve

Weight always seems to be an issue – whether you are thin or not.   When I was younger I was always too thin.  I do know it changes you to be one or the other.   When I reached my mid thirties I began to get heavy.  Perhaps it is the foods of today or the activities.  Maybe it is the nature of the animal.  How many slim animals turn heavy as they age?   Because I see slim and healthy older dogs and people I know we don’t have to be this way.

Pete & Me

Pete & Me

When I was thin no one could understand my big energy and appetite. They went together is how it worked.  I was burning those calories recklessly.  I rarely strolled anywhere.  I did however rest a lot because I’d wear myself out.  Unfortunately I wasn’t immune to the trends for women in the 60’s on to be as thin as possible.  I began to think I must be thinner.  I became critical of myself and worked to keep my adolescent thinness.  One thing that stood out from the beginning was my relationship with hunger.

I remember having food dreams.  They were fantastic dreams – colourful and mouth-watering.   They go back as far as I can remember.  I woke up every day hungry and eager to eat.   I seemed to be an anomaly.  No one I knew ever wanted to eat first thing in the morning, nor did they have food dreams.  As a teenager I experimented with hunger.  I would eat a big breakfast and then the smallest lunch possible.  I was hungry at lunch.  CG3EI explored that feeling – not as an adversary but as a researcher.  It was a pattern I kept for many years.  I would enjoy an apple or avocado until every thing was gone – this represented a lunch.  Supper was often a meal I hurried home to have but one that was late enough not to encourage snacks later on.

I don’t have those dreams any more.  I think I stopped having them when I was too busy at university and started to wolf lunches and dinners and even skip breakfast because I’d sleep late after partying or study.  We only had desert when I was growing up.  I say this as ‘snacks’ were unheard of.  Students use snacks as meals.   In the working world snacks are everywhere.  They were at the pub, the office, at parties and at friends homes.  In the past twenty years of trying to keep my weight stable I have had to look at my beloved snacks. CG26 They have ruled me.  Even when the snacks are ‘healthy’ ones.  I love watching TV at night and the commercials are mostly about snacks.

Like my dog I would gladly eat [almost] anything, any time.  I would love to wallow in my calories and enjoy the plumpness.  When I hear how big my ass is or someone says I’ve ruined my dog – I seethed.  It is one thing to let yourself go and another to be admonished for it.  The last time someone said my dog was fat I said. ‘I am so tired of people saying this”.  It stopped them and made them think.  Then we talked about perceptions.  Yes my Vet has said my dog should have a waist.  She has also said my dog is healthy.  I want health for my dog and myself.  My dog loves exercise and helps me.  She also is helping me with my snacks.  This is because I share.  I can’t share something that will hurt her so I must not eat those things either.

It has been over twenty-five years since I have been slim.  In that time I have struggled.   My metabolism is very different from my youth.   I notice the weight when I move my body and try to fit into my regular clothes.  Weight gain is unpleasant because your body no longer seems to be you and your clothes become a big disappointment.  Recently I have begun to look back at my reaction to hunger.   I’m not saying I have found a perfect way to address my weight.  I eat a bit less.  My walks are more frequent and brisker.  I try to resist snacks – even if I make 20 trips to the kitchen and visit the fridge too often.  If I fail I try not to beat myself up and resolve to do better tomorrow.  This goes for me when I eat too late in the day or overfed the dog the chicken scraps.  My weight seems to be stable and that just doesn’t cut it – not for me or my dog.

Hunger should be your body telling you its empty.  Many times I haven’t even felt when I am too full.  I indulge myself when I am even a little hungry.  Now I wonder at my ‘lazy’ attitude.   Yes we can’t be stressing out our bodies but who says a little hunger is a bad thing?  As a migraine sufferer I can’t miss meals.  I am allowing hunger back in.  My dog has shown the way.  She kicks her food bowl when she’s ‘hungry’ – even though I know she’s eaten well.  This made me question my actions.    Yesterday I had corn on the cob and a bagel for lunch and was still hungry at the end.  Today it was a salad and a bagel and I am satisfied.  Perhaps tomorrow it will be a salad and half a bagel.  I know bagels are not diet food but this is better than a burger or pasta for lunch.  Now both of us are experiencing hunger and at least in my dogs’ case I am seeing results.  Perhaps I am too, but being bigger it may take longer.