Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Please Be Advised

See you again in mid-September-ish!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Happy Labour Day!

Oh, if only we didn't need pesky little ongoing necessities like food, rent/mortgage, clothes, etc.! Then we could all kiss the workforce goodbye and live a life of leisure like the 1% do.

But huzzah! There is one day of the year which recognizes the invaluable contributions of labour to our economic system, whether people comprehend the true nature of that system or not.

And this is not the day to be snarky or holier-than-thou about anyone else's occupation or profession -- we're all in the same boat when it comes to trading our life energy for money.

And above all else, make work and your job your priority!
Like this prime example of Worker of the Year --

Stifle those doubt-filled, non-conformist impulses!

It won't take a toll on you over the years!

Work-life balance? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Your boss knows best!

Try to get along with everyone, fer gawd's sake.

And always remember . . . .

There now, doesn't that make you feel better about work?

Friday, 30 August 2019

Farewell, Harry

[Photo of Harry from "The story so far" June 30, 2019]

I hate it when a blogging buddy passes away. And one of my faves did so earlier this week on August 27th -- Harry Hamid of The Rise and Fall of Harry Hamid.

Harry wrote prose -- strangely compelling, beautifully twisted, prose. He would come at subjects sideways, entertaining us with his surreal details, seducing us into entering his often macabre world of clever verbiage. His was a unique voice and I enjoyed reading his short stories very much.

Like many writers, Harry wanted to experience the world in other people's skins. When I first unknowingly encountered him a few years ago in the blogosphere, he was blogging as Katy, a beautiful, homeless lesbian who loved obscure rock bands and had an unfortunate love life (Katy's wife ran off with Katy's brother). Harry had also, it turned out, written other blogs in the personas of two different women.

A couple of years ago, when Harry came clean and revealed all (so to speak), he undertook to write his new blog in his own persona. We went with him on a new journey involving his struggles with love, life, alcohol, cigarettes and the Green Party. Then, tragically this Spring, there was a heart attack/stroke that nearly killed him, a cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemo, failing health and now death, as his brother advised us in a final post on his blog. Harry posted personal photos of himself in hospital, so thin, so frail, yet he always fought on, still writing on occasion.

A year ago, Harry noted in a blog post that this particular week in August is when everything bad always seems to happen to him --

"This week is my annual near death experience.

Jamie left. You know this. It’s been six years today. I almost died, five years next Monday. And it’s hurricane season in Houston.

In my life where nothing ever happens, everything that happens happens this week. There was the year when my car blew up. Yes, that one. I remember. I said, “Of course it did,” and all my co-workers laughed. At me. They said, “You’re superstitious after all, Harry.” That night, our server room exploded and the firemen ran up twenty-seven flights of stairs, each one wearing a hundred pounds of equipment and nothing was left but the ashes. The mayor came out. In tacky pajamas. I walked out under helicopters and the world stank sharp with electrical fire.

This was no surprise. I’d warned them. This was the anniversary of everything.

Nothing is cursed and no week and no one. You will always find a logical explanation. That’s the rule. No magic, no magic at all. So okay then, let’s have it then. I’m game.

Logical Explanation 1. There exists a strange cabal of very cruel people who are targeting me. They blew up my truck and they blew up the server room, damn them. Made Jamie leave, and Ruby. Got Veva to marry. Chose the day for my new firm to gobble up my old. Alright.

But what about the hurricanes? What about my total loss of platelets and sitting at lunch, watching my arm fill up with blood in 2013? What a strange cabal that would be.

This is the part where I get to Logical Explanation 2 and it’s the one where, in my paranoid state, I’m bringing it all upon myself. My paranoia stirs up storms! Breaks underground pipes. It kills my grandfather and the world goes up in sympathetic explosions. No good, no good, that seems even more fantastical than a curse, Occam’s razor and all that jazz.

I’ll stay in, with the lights out, this year. Maybe I will call a priest. A handyman. An anesthetist. Dial 9 and 1 on my phone in preparation. In expectation. While I’m waiting."

And now in 2019, during his bad luck anniversary week, Harry has indeed died. Rest in peace, my friend.

But you know, a very real part of me hopes that he has simply pulled another literary fast one on us -- that in a little while, he'll reappear in some new persona in a new blog, saying "Sorry! ha ha! THIS is the real me now!"

Wouldn't that be great? Yeah, yeah it would.

Universe, make it so.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

My Favourite Emily Carr Painting

Emily Carr (1871-1945) is one of my favourite Canadian artists. From her home in British Columbia, she struggled to achieve her artistic vision despite obscurity, poverty and eccentricity. As Wikipedia notes, her art was:

. . . inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until the subject matter of her painting shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes—forest scenes in particular.

This next image is of my favourite Emily Carr painting. Deeply spiritual in meaning, the painting depicts three trees, sole survivors of a brutal forest clearcutting operation. These trees are meant to remind us of the three crosses of Golgotha, where Christ and the two thieves were crucified. This time, however, the unspeakable crime is committed against Nature and Mother Earth. The clouds filling the sky, suffused with light streaming from heaven, ties into this spiritual theme as well. Carr's use of light in this painting was influenced by the style of her friend and early artistic/spiritual mentor, Lawren Harris of the Group of Seven (another favourite Canadian artist of mine).

Carr entitled this painting: Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky.

An exquisitely poetic title, isn't it! It's essentially a modern, free-form haiku, written long before such zen poetry came to North America.

I love the title as much as the painting. In seven little words, it perfectly expresses that the true value of Nature is never to be measured or judged by its commercial or economic worth.

When we were in Vancouver earlier this month, we spent some time at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Guess what it had on display!

For years, I had a reproduction of this painting in my office. I've seen the original painting only three times in my life -- once on loan to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, once on loan to the National Gallery in Ottawa, and now once again at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is the painting's permanent home.

Each time I've seen it has been a wonderful gift.

[First 2 photos from the internet; 3rd photo taken by My Rare One, August 2019]

Monday, 26 August 2019

Who's Ready for Autumn?

I know many of you out there in Blogland are jonesing hard for autumn to get here so you can celebrate cooler weather, fall colours, fall foods and Halloween.

Joyce of Octoberfarm, Guillaume of Vraie Fiction and Lady M of Lady M's Haunted Parlor, I'm looking right at you!

Autumn is my favourite time of the year too. So everyone, just consider this post a little amuse-bouche of imagery to fill us with anticipation for the coming fall season!

Soon, my pretties . . . SOON!

Friday, 23 August 2019

Food for Thought

Don't get an upset stomach, but it's time
for some gastronomic puns and word play!

As an appetizer, how about
a nice fruit 'n veggie tray?

Or would you prefer some bread and cheese instead?

Next, the pasta course -- mangia, mangia!

And then, the protein course --

Whatever you eat, don't forget the condiments!

I hope everyone saved room for dessert!

This next dessert is so good, it ought to be illegal!

I trust this post has been a revelation to you all.

[And as usual, a special shout-out of thanks to Jackiesue at Yellowdog Granny, who always finds and posts good pun memes for me to steal!]

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Watercolour and Ink Sketches

The main thing I learned in July's "Sketching in Pen and Ink and Watercolour" course is that I really need to take a beginners course in watercolours! I was not happy with most of my efforts in this class, but here are the ones I don't mind posting, LOL!

We painted the watercolour wash and spatter background in this first exercise before we knew what picture we'd be drawing in ink over top of it. If I'd known, I would not have chosen these particular colours for my wash! Oh well, just pretend this landscape scene is from an alien planet --

I like these little tomatoes on the vine but wish I'd drawn them bigger on the page.

I'm happy with this fruit still life too. The fruit was supplied by my fridge.

These veggies came out of My Rare One's garden. When I was done, I chopped up the onion and put it on a pizza. Delicious!

Because I'm busy and running around traveling in August and September, I won't be taking another art course until October or so. But I may do some art on my own at home.

[Photos taken by My Rare One, August 2019]