Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Silver Anniversary!!

(My all time favourite photo of us.)

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary!!

Like any couple, we've been through so much in the past two and a half decades but through it all, I can honestly say that we've always been very happily married. My husband's name means "the rock" and he has been exactly that in our life together-steadfast and strong, in his own quiet way. I am so blessed to have him in my life and if his having survived both kidney cancer and a major heart attack didn't drive that point home, nothing would. I am grateful he is alive and we are able to celebrate this beautiful mile stone today.

"He loved her of course, 
but better than that, 
he chose her, day after day.
Choice: that was the thing."
~Sherman Alexi

Happy Anniversary my love. You are truly the best man I know.

Friday, October 02, 2015

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Happy Autumn everyone!! My most beloved season is finally here!! YAY!! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous-cooler, but beautifully sunny. It makes me so happy to watch the turning of the leaves and the changing of the light.

It's been a busy time in the last week or so. I met with my new cohort, my 4th for the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program on Monday night. This time my students are from medicine, nursing, OT and kinesiology. They are a lovely group of young women and I am excited to be working with them. My 3rd cohort has two more session and then they are done. Hard to believe we're at that point already!

We have been sticking pretty close to home as my husband is still recovering but we've managed to take Indy for a dip in the lake from time to time. He is never so happy as when he is swimming and retrieving. Now that the summer drought is over and we've had a decent amount of rain, the lake has been fairly high which makes for better swimming for him.

Thanksgiving is next weekend. I am going to be baking pies this weekend in preparation. Turkey is my favourite meal, so I am looking forward to it. Our best friends and our son will be joining us. This year has been really rough, but we still have plenty to be thankful for-we are all still alive and together and before the month is up, we will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. That's a pretty big deal. 

In case you missed it, there are zines available in my Etsy store-issues #3 & #4 of Manual Dexterity. Issue #3 is Hallowe'en/Autumn themed and includes my secret recipe for THE BEST pumpkin pie! You can find them here.

Happy Fall Y'all! 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Good Things!

Hello! Hello! I hope things are going well in your little corner of the world! It's been a very challenging summer. Last week, as if we didn't have enough excitement around here with health issues, mother nature decided to have a go. We got a major storm here on the west coast with 80km winds and rain. Trees went down all over the place-two went down across the street at the neighbour's and took out his fence and the rear window of a car parked across the street. In a matter of minutes, surrounding neighbours came with their chainsaws and handsaws to help. The trees were blocking the road (and the bus route) but they were able to dismantle the downed trees enough to clear the roadway. I live in an awesome neighbourhood!

We also lost power at noon on Saturday and it wasn't restored until late Monday night. We lost the contents of our fridge and deep freeze. It took us 3 hours to clean that up-you can't just put everything in a garbage bag and toss it out. Because of environmental measures here, you have to separate food from packaging. The packaging has to be rinsed and recycled and the food goes into the green recycling bins. Let's just say dealing with dead spoiled fish is not fun. YUCK! It was challenging restocking our fridge too-many of the local stores were also without power for days, so they lost all their perishables too. My fridge is still pretty empty, but I'm working on it. The good news is we got much needed rain and we are okay. We played alot of cribbage, burned candles and when it got dark, made our way around with flashlights. We were completely off the grid at home-no power, no lights, no hot water, no Internet. It was like indoor camping for 3 days.

Now that things are back to normal, I wanted to share that I've finally got copies of my latest zine, Manual Dexterity #4 available in my Etsy shop. I also had a few people ask me about Manual Dexterity #3, the Hallowe'en/Autumn issue I did a couple years ago. I managed to scare up a few copies (see what I did there?) so they are also available. I have limited copies, so if you want one, I suggest you act fast!


I also really excited that my new advocacy business cards from MOO have arrived! For some time now I have been wanting to make some specific to the work I do as an advocate for NMO and MS. I finally got around to it. I've ordered business cards from Moo for years and have had nothing but exceptional service. Seriously, they exceed my expectations each and every time. I decided to order the rounded corners on my cards and to go with the standard business size this time, instead of the mini cards which I love so much. (And can't stop ordering!) They were in my mailbox this morning and they are GORGEOUS! I am going to be so proud to hand them out!

If you'd like to order some for your very own, you can do so here. By clicking the link, you will receive 10% off your first order. Can't beat that!

So..that's the latest news. I am looking forward to Autumn which will be here soon-I'm counting the days!

Monday, July 27, 2015

15 Random Facts About Me

In the spirit of posting more regularly, here are 15 random things about me, inspired by my friend, Isabel Jordan

1. As a kid, the library was my safe haven. I spent alot of time in the main branch in downtown Winnipeg. I'd hop a bus and disappear into the safety of the stacks for hours. For the longest time, I was only allowed a child's library card. It drove me crazy because I was reading 2-3 grade levels above my age. When I turned 8, I finally managed to talk the adults into allowing me to have an adult card. I immediately dove into everything the library had about the Holocaust. I have always been fascinated by world history and felt that it's extremely important to be educated about what's going on in the world and why. The library saved me in so many ways. I am still a voracious reader.

2. I have the most ridiculous sense of gallows humour. In the absolute worst situation, I will find something to laugh about. My theory is that if I can laugh at it, I can survive it. I'm a good person to have around in a crisis. 

3. My mind is a steel trap for music and lyrics. I can also create a mean mondegreen, thanks to my hearing impairment.

4. I hate shopping. The only thing I really enjoy shopping for is art supplies. I consider the mall the 7th circle of hell. Seriously.

5. I love tattoos. I have two and I want more. They are addictive!

6. My love language is food. If I love you, I will cook for you. It's a prairie thing.

7. I am obsessed with making journals. I have a stack of them. I enjoy the process of choosing the papers, the sewing and how they feel in my hands when they are done. I also have a hard time resisting buying commercially made journals. I am a paper junkie.

8. I'm an Aries, which means I am a risk taker. I am not happy unless I am growing and stretching outside my comfort zone. I am not afraid to put myself out there, to travel alone, to do something other people think I can't do. I find joy in discovering what I am capable of. The thing I am dying to do next is to climb Whistler's Via Ferrata . I look at my life as a series of adventures. I am always open to the next opportunity. Bring it!

9. People would tell you I'm an extrovert, but the truth is, I spend huge swaths of time by myself. I love people, but I need solitary time every day. I am not sure how or why this shift happened, but I think I lean more towards being an introvert. Can you be an introverted extrovert? Is that even a thing?

10. I am still looking for my creative tribe. Where are you? The Internet is great for keeping up with my far-flung creative friends, but it would be so nice to have a few local peeps (in my city) to get together with to create from time to time. Surely there are kindreds close to home who would like to connect. How come we have such a hard time finding one another?

11. I hate talking on the phone. I almost always let it go to voice mail. Yeah, I know. I'm one of those people. *hangs head* I prefer to communicate via email...or in person.

12. I want to learn to play the strum stick. I first saw this instrument when Tracy Chapman played one at a concert. I thought it was the oddest, coolest instrument. I don't have feeling in my hands, but the strum stick is supposed to be really easy to learn. I have a thing for string instruments. It's on my wish list.

13. If I ever win the lotto, the first thing I want to do is see the arctic circle. I dream of Canada's true north. It's a trip I've always wanted to do. I want to see how people live, to experience life beyond the tree line, to see the land and the snow and ice stretched out before me. I want to ice fish (which I've done as a child) to run sled dogs & sail the inside passage. The wilds of this country call to me.

14. I have an inspiration alter in my studio where I have my medals and other recognition for things I've accomplished in my life. It's there to serve as a daily reminder to strive to give back to the world, because that's how I roll. It keeps me focused on what's really important.

15. Someday, I would like to write a book. It's been on my life-list forever, but it's a matter of the right opportunity, at the right time. I am patient. It will happen when it's meant to. 

Thursday, July 09, 2015


So...it's been awhile since I posted. It's really a case of "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." I had a NMO relapse and had to have a round of IV steroids in early June and then two weeks ago today, my husband suffered a major heart attack at work. Our lives have gone sideways, so we are kind of in a state of shock still and trying to recover from the scare. Fortunately he had immediate surgery and is recovering, though his heart rate is still wonky. I am trying to deal with what's immediately in front of me, in an attempt to try and keep my stress manageable.

I had just done this revamp of my blog header and template the day before all hell broke loose and then didn't get a chance to actually post. Since I had a sliver of time today, I thought I would do a quick update. Without further ado...

Teresa posted this really interesting book on her Instagram and I was so intrigued I had to run off to the book store to find it. It's really good and reminds me of a zine in so many ways. Fun stuff! I'd love to see more books done in this style. The aesthetics of it is so appealing and it feels like you are almost peeking into someone's mixed media journal in a way. If I was going to write a book, I'd like to do it this way. Someday...

Speaking of zines, I wrapped up the zine exchange I was hosting. I now have a beautiful box of inspiration. So much good stuff!

This was my contribution, the 4th edition of Manual Dexterity. My plan was to have a few copies available in my Etsy store, but with all the health stuff that came out of nowhere, I just haven't had the time. I will have copies for sale eventually and I'll post here to let anyone who is interested know. I just can't say exactly when that will happen right now.

I've been puttering in my 101 year old journal. Some days it's nice to sit down for half an hour and make something. I have just been flipping to a random page and going for it. Slowly but surely, the pages are filling up. I am so in love with this journal.

I have been enjoying exploring my new neighbourhood with Indy. This is part of the green belt one minute outside my door. I feel so lucky to just be able to pop into the woods any time I feel like it. We live in an area that, according to my best friend has a very high incidence of bear sightings, but so far, no luck. I am not afraid of bears-I took a bear aware course years ago, but I do have respect for them. I am always mindful that our paths could cross any time I am out and about and I will be prepared to act accordingly. I don't want any bears to come to any harm because of me.

On Father's Day, we went up to Whistler for the day because we felt the need to see things like this.

And swim in Lost Lake.

 And eat amazing food like this (The BEST fish taco)

And this from La Cantina, our favourite restaurant in the village. My son had never been before and is a foodie so it was fun watching him taste a bunch of different menu items.

My friend Amy very sweetly sent me this book when I was having trouble sourcing it locally. It just arrived this week, so as soon as the weather cools down a bit, I am going to dive into painting. Can't wait. It's so hot at the moment that I don't think my paints would stay open long enough for me to get them onto the canvas. By the way, the author, Tracy Verdugo is turning 50 and so she's giving away 22 spots in her upcoming online class. The details are here. I've been entering daily because I'd LOVE to have the opportunity to expand my painting knowledge. Paint for me is joy and I'm on a mission to invite more joy into my life. I have my *fingers crossed*!

Maureen made this gorgeous paracord bracelet and sent it to me. That was a good mail day-perfectly timed to lift my spirits. I love how chunky it is and how comfortably it wears. It has a really great magnetic clasp so I can manage to put it on and off myself. (This has become a big issue with my jewelery-with my hands so numb, working closures has become a major problem.) I really love this piece and have been wearing it pretty much non-stop. Maureen is a local BC artist-you should check her out!

I have also been super busy with advocacy work. It seems I just get one project done and another pops up. I have shared a big announcement on NMODiaries this week. I have a guest post up for the MS Society of Canada and I'm working on something else that I can't talk about right now. It's so great to be able to have opportunities to contribute and make a difference. I really do love advocacy work. It's the work of my heart.

So..as you can see, life has been rolling along, despite the major bumps and potholes. We are coping. I am going to try and post more regularly over the summer. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Art & Advocacy

I wanted to share with you that last week I received the Canadian MS Society's Spring/Summer magazine in the mail. As I was flipping through it, I came across me! Back in February, they invited me, as someone living with NMO to join their Flee or Fight national campaign. I was honoured to be a part of it and submitted this photo. I knew it was going to be used-I just didn't know where, when or how. It's really exciting that it was included in the magazine which was sent out to homes across Canada! What a great way to raise awareness!

I also finally was able to gt my hands on a copy of Dawn DeVries Sokol's new book. It's a chunky monkey, loaded with beautiful art journal pages. If you don't own this one, it really is a must have.

I am please to share that my artwork is on page 33.  Both of these pieces of work mean so much to me-the man on the left was my Gramps' maternal grandfather (my great, great grandfather) old man Reimer and the family in the photo on the left is my Gram's family-my great grandparents (I was named (my middle name) for my Great Grandpa Nowell, who died a month before I was born) and my Grams' siblings. (M great aunts and uncles.) My Gram is the tall one at the back. It's a really lovely way to remember them. My friends Seth Apter and Penelope Harris also have work in this book.

I am currently working on finishing up my latest zine and watching my post box for all the zines being submitted to the exchange I am hosting. So far three have arrived and they are amazing. I am looking forward to packaging them all up and sending them off to everyone. I know they are going to love them! I have included the art work that's in Dawn's book in my zine. I couldn't resist!

I also participated in the MS Society BC-Yukon Division's art show. These are the pieces I submitted. It was a great way to help raise awareness for NMO. At one point, as I was taking this photo, two women walked up and one pointed out to the other, the long lesion on my spinal cord shown in the middle piece. (Which, by the way was published in Seth Apter's The Pulse Of Mixed Media.) I leaned over and said "Yeah and that's an NMO lesion, not and MS lesion." They then introduced themselves as scientific researchers at UBC. They were quite excited to see an MRI image used in this way.

It's been a busy time settling into our new home and neighbourhood. I've been busy feathering our new nest. The days just seem to fly by.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Big News!!

So...alot of exciting things have been happening in my life lately-amazing opportunities have been cropping up all over the place. Here's one I want to share with you:

I am teaching a journal making workshop 
at Delish General Store  on Granville Island! 

Ex Libris Journal Workshop Sample

Yes indeed, owner Tamara Komuniecki will be hosting my Ex-Libris Journal workshop on Saturday, May 2nd at her beautiful store. I am really excited to be partnering with her and spending the day at one of my favourite places in Vancouver! We will spend a full day together and I will be sharing how to transform an old book into an amazing and unique journal to capture your thoughts and art. It's a wonderful way to make some time and space just for you and to meet others who love journals as much as you do-it's always wonderful to meet kindred spirits!

For more information click here and to register, click here.
Hurry as space is limited!

You can also get a peek at another of my journals made using the techniques you will be learning in class here. The book I used to create my 2015 journal is 101 years old! It's a really wonderful way to give an old book a new and wonderful life and it saves it from going into the landfill!

I hope to see YOU there!