Let’s Get Happy!


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The images above are all photographs I’ve taken over the past couple of years.  I assembled these for a Toastmaster presentation that I kind of goofed up on.  Still, I loved putting this together and wanted to share it with you.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Peace out!

Thank you for this Magic Moment


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I am truly humbled by everyone who has offered up their best wishes and congratulations.

I feel so truly blessed at this moment.

I am recording the facts and etching the beauty of all of the love that has been afforded me through this project and throughout my life by family and friends.

I couldn’t have done the things I’ve done without them.

I was listening to the radio on the drive into work this morning.  Willy and the gang were discussing this oddity that has happened with some ‘A’ listers in the entertainment industry.

Certain celebrities insist on movie sets that no one looks them in eye.

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Now this is pure ego…nothing more.  It is also a show of extreme insecurity in my mind.

Holding someone’s gaze is a very revealing and intimate exchange.  So much can be shared in this simple act.

Yet for someone, who happens to be a well known actor / actress, to say that anyone who looks them in the eye should be immediately dismissed for their insubordination smacks of an elevated ego and a weird and convoluted idea of power.

Money can have an odd effect on people.

And the names that were mentioned today are not particularly ‘gifted’ in their field.  If anything, they got lucky.

The thing is if someone scores big in a role, or happens to be stunningly beautiful or both…they are marketed like any other commodity.  The problem is several of them begin to believe the ‘legend’ that they are being sold as.

I hope my book does well.

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But you know, I’ve a host of other things I want to do.

A few years ago I got the idea for a fundraiser for women.  I thought it might be beneficial to have an annual event to raise funds and awareness for several non-profit programs that assist women in crisis.  I formatted the letter head, the idea, and took down names of organizations that would participate.

I had roughed out the schedule of events and the female celebrities that I would approach to participate.

I had letters drafted ready to be sent.

I needed to approach the venue that I wanted to use and get the skinny on that.

Then an issue arose regarding my heart.  I muscled through deciding to get myself good and healthy before I continued on with this endeavor.

On the heels of the heart stuff, cancer paid a rude and uninvited visit.  While I eradicated this from my life I made the decision to start my own company and launch the book.

Keep in mind I’m still working full-time and taking care of an engineering company.  Gotta have a cash flow to pay the bills, you know?

Now I’ve got to figure out how to sell this book that’s I’ve just launched.  What has also resurrected my attention is this fundraiser I thought of a few years back.

So I will fine tune that too.

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If I sold a million books and made a boat load of cash there is this part of me that knows I would never live to excess.  It’s not me.

It would of course be nice not to have to worry about financial issues but I’m not one who would run out and purchase a mansion and hire a staff to maintain it.

The idea of someone else washing my underwear is a little creepy to me, but then that’s just me.  Perhaps it’s my ingrained independence.  I’ve always taken care of myself…kinda sorta.

And what really is a perfect world?

Perfection doesn’t exist, not really.  As much as we want that physical sense of timeless and youthful beauty with all the perceived accruements that go along with this, understand the cost for this conceit.

And when those ‘beautiful people’ who grace our movie and television screens look down at us meer normal mortals, that is typically when  I  lose interest…fast.

We are all connected.  We always will be.  To think otherwise can be very lonely.

What happens on the other side of world will have an impact on me in some form or another.

When I was invited to run in Rick Hansen’s “25th Anniversary Relay Race”  and was awarded a medal as being a difference maker, I can assure you I took this honour seriously.

I want to make a difference through the power of love and forgiveness.

And I know that I’m just one woman and can only do so much.

But at this moment I feel a certain magic. And at the very beginning when I began this blog I spoke of what magic means to me

There is a radiance, a wellspring of wonder that I’m feeling.

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And such a debt of gratitude to each and every person who has ever loved me.

It is this love that has sewn together a heart that was so badly broken and allowed it to heal and expand in a way I could never have imagined even a few years ago.

So thank you to all the people I know and love for encouraging me to find my voice and share it through the written word.

You have saved me.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Wait For Me…


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The CPR train station at 8th Street and Columbia St. in New Westminster, BC  – Then & Now

Yesterday I went out for a walk.  Now that the festivities have subsided regarding the unveiling of the monument commemorating the photo ‘Wait For Me, Daddy’, I decided to check it out.

They have also placed images from New Westminster’s storied past.  New Westminster is not very big in area.  Just eight square miles or thereabouts.  Many of the old buildings are still in existence.

Above is the old train station.  It is now vacant having recently shut down after serving as a steak house for many years. I hope the city will polish it up and perhaps it could serve as a museum.

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The images are all taken in the vicinity of 8th St. and Columbia.  The first image with the crowd of people is of Hyack Square where the monument now stands.  The prominent building that you see still exists and is a Salvation Army Thrift Store.  The middle photo is the stair wall that has all these images on it.  Hyack Square, by the way, sits between the Salvation Army Thrift Store and the old Train Station.

The third image was taken at 8th Street looking up Columbia St.  The taller building to your left still stands and house a coffee house on the main level with offices making up the rest to the building.

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And this is the monument that now stands in Hyack Square.  The detail is remarkable.

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I really like the expressions and with all the hands reaching out the division of this family has already begun.

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The artists commissioned for this piece did a fabulous job of capturing this in a rather odd vortex of sorts.  It also lights up at night.

 

 

The Human Condition


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The poster showcases a muscled beast of man with a shaved head and a trophy belt tossed over his shoulder as if it was merely an after thought. The expression, while shadowed, appears remote and angry, yet oddly defeated?

It is flanked by a framed sketch of a whipped latte and a cup of coffee.

The poster seems oddly out of place. Still, in this hang out of mine there are many contradictions.

I, myself, am one in many ways.

The balance between sinner and saint really is non-existent yet I foolishly try to sell this world this odd combination of what, I’m not too sure. I think I’m fooling myself more than anyone else.

And to what purpose?

It is simply a fact of being human I suppose.

I’ve been inflicted with this condition you see…no way around it. Some manage the human condition better than others. Then again it is dependent on so many infinite combinations, is it not?

The consumption of my meal is taking place as I listen idly to the conversations that are filtering through around me.

Germany apparently started both world wars. Ah yes, the quest to dominate, to run the whole show. Unfortunately far too many have sought that narrow minded way of thinking.

What is the imagined prize I cannot help but wonder.  Power?  Control?

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Our waitress prattled on at the table behind me about ‘Fright Nights’. The thrill, the excitement, the fear, the fun!

‘Fright Nights’ is basically our local fair ground reconstructed with Haunted Houses to celebrate the season of Halloween.  Oh yes, it has indeed become a season albeit a short one.

Staff members are dressed in grotesque costumes with frightening makeup and chase you about or jump out at you hoping to scare the bejeezus out of you.  Often they are very effective.

I’ve gone a few times.  One thing they do is turn the lights off on our glorious old wooden Roller Coaster. My friend Kathy and I went on it a few years back. They have a camera mounted to take your picture just as you make your first descend.

I don’t believe I’ve ever laughed so hard at our expressed horror. We bore the same expression with our then blonde manes practically in a vertical position upon our heads. Our eyes were wide, mouths open and the wind factor added a rather animated effect to our expression.

It was the most unflattering photo of the two of us ever and but one of the funniest.  .

I enjoyed it immensely but truth be told, I wasn’t willing to cough up twenty dollars for the damn thing.

After work today I met a woman I went to school with for a drink. She lives very close to my new place of employment so I danced across the street to the Deep Cove Brewery to sample their wares.

Impressive! Christmas giving will be full of spirits this year.

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Sharon was responsible for putting the cruise we went on earlier this year together.  And it was one of the best trips I’ve had.   And Sharon is a lovely woman.  She is in this life to live it fully and from what I can determine she’s doing a damn fine job of it.

And we make our choices on the direction we want our life to take, don’t we? Some of us do this with a great deal of clarity while many of us do this with blinders on.

Personally I’ve stumbled through this life’s journey and it has been an interesting one

At times we are all asked if we have any regrets.

The guy in the UFC poster I described earlier looks like he may have some, though it may debatable as to what the origin may be.

I love the line in ‘My Way’.

Regrets, I’ve had few…but then again…too few to mention…”

Perhaps I should have regrets. But at the end of the day, I have to accept that I made the decisions and choices that I did based upon the knowledge, or lack thereof, that was available to me at that time.

Expansion can only occur when you reconcile all the emotions that have bound you and release them.

Letting go of fears that have confined you for a lifetime, beliefs that may well have been misguided and the self-depreciating manner by which we subject ourselves to is not an easy task.

I’ve the muscled man in the UFC poster, a baseball game (the World Series) and a soccer game vying for my attention in a restaurant with about eight pages of food on their menu.

Pizza, pasta and beer.

I won’t be some skinny mini, of this you can be sure. I have no desire to be cut and rock solid.

I just want to enjoy a healthy body once again so that I can enjoy all the activities that I fought so hard to have in my life.

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Pizza and beer will not assist me in this endeavour. And while I try to persuade the rest of the world that these two items should indeed be considered superfoods, I can assure you that I am not too convincing. After all it is self motivated on my part and rather delusional at best.

We like what we like, even if our arteries are hardening at the thought of it.

The question of air pollution resulting from the use of automobiles certainly hasn’t deterred our desire to drive or our love affair with our automobiles.

And while I am trying to consciously cut down on the eco footprint that I am making, I know I could do better.

Why don’t I?

The answer to this is simple. I’m human. No, it’s not a cop out. We are conditioned and I am trying to change this on a daily basis, trying to turn those habits that have been ingrained into something far more constructive and benefical.

I want to be a kinder and gentler being. Oh, there are many things I want to aspire to. There is a bombardment of stimuli, good and incredibly bad, that I and everyone else inhabiting this planet is assaulted with each day.

Dear old technology rushes and washes over us like a tsunami. Oddly, we welcome the assault.

The news about the iPhone 6 and its release to the world held my attention simply in the absurdity that people were waiting in lines over night to attain this new object

Why?

So why the fascination and the must have? Will it change your life? Make it better than it was a day ago?  Not likely.

But again, it all comes back to the human condition.

That moment of supremacy, however fleeting, when you feel you’ve got the edge on this thing we call life.

Stick that phone in the pocket of your jeans and find out the next day that it’s warped.

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Back in the 1970’s women were making a real mark on their position in this world. They were challenging the role that they had been cast in on every level. Equality, fairness in the workplace, and a host of other inequities founded the women’s movement.

Then someone whispered in a woman’s ear…you’ll be far more successful if you dress like this and look like that.

We were on coltish legs understand and suddenly those insecurities were turned inward.

Today aging is considered a disease. It can be fixed though. There is a surgical procedure for everything now.

Wrinkles? Botox

Fat belly? Liposuction.

Sagging lips? Collegen shots.

Boobs? Implants or a reduction.

And to what purpose?

How will this enhance our human experience?

I really don’t think it will.  Oh, you might well think that the $10,000 that you spent on correcting the flaws that society insisted made you unacceptable will improve the quality of life…but sadly that can only come with acceptance of who you are.

With every perceived imperfection included in this acceptance.

Last year when chemotherapy induced the departure of my hair, I stood in the shower rather fascinated by the wads that slipped so easily from my head. My daughter shaved the remainder off at my request.

I stood for a time gazing at this bald head of mine.

It was a humbling moment yet equally liberating.

How much stock I put into my daily appearance, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be found desirable, and ultimately wanting to be loved.

Nothing had changed in my personage…just my appearance. I was the same woman I was a day ago, only now I was bald.

And it’s a dramatic change in such a visual society as ours.

But I’m alive. I’ve got another day, another moment, another chance.

These days the news is filled with men dressed in black beheading their fellow man.

Why?

Ebola is raging through West Africa and as it turns its insidious direction toward our continent the tendrils of fear are building.

Why are we not sending our knowledge and medicines over to West Africa?   Why are we not trying to save these people?

Oh, government officials will stand up for posterity’s sake and say they’ve committed so much to the effort while we watch yet another diseased body being lifted onto a gurney by a people wrapped in plastic.

What the fuck is going on?

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Lineups for days for the iPhone 6?

And everything is supersized or minimized. Our manic senses need to be filled. We need to feel normal in this abnormal world. We need to find sense in the non-sensical.

I saw the image on TV.

A figure shrouded in black standing next to a man in orange who was on his knees in all his fragility. A desert backdrop lent so much despair to the situation.

I gazed at the figure in black. What struck me was that this person had never known love; had never truly experienced its power. They wouldn’t be taking off a fellow man’s head had they.

And this saddened me so deeply.

They take these boys at such a young age. Feed them hate, fear and loathing. Promise things that will never be attained.

Now take a step back. I know it’s horrific. I know they need to be held accountable.

But what are we feeding the young minds of this world?

Love, compassion, empathy?  Gotta wonder.

Be a size zero, get your masters in anything, have a line of credit to live off because you’ll be paying off your student loan well into your 40’s, then pretend that you’re not polluting the world in that 3,000 sq. ft. home you live in that you can’t afford.

And across the globe young boys are being conditioned to serve a master that detests all you believe to be good and true.

They believe if they walk into a busy marketplace and blow themselves up and take a few of the bad guys with them, they are assured with their death that 76 virgins will greet them.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s the same 76 virgins for each and ever fool who tosses the gift of life away for an angry god.

And isn’t that the crux of it all?

We all think we know, believe we’ve been shown the way, the path….

The very fact that the man in black beside the victim to be persecuted is so well covered speaks volumes.

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They know it’s wrong. Gazing into that damnable camera they know it’s insidious.

That is why they are hiding, covering themselves.

Again, it is the human condition.

And I hurt for them as much as I do for the soul who is on his knees begging for mercy, for their life as they are remembering the love afforded them. In that moment they want to be enveloped by it, wrapped in it, lost in it.

And the one to take it from them, who stands shrouded in black covets it.  Yet he’ll never admit to it.

A week ago I stood in this town of mine and watched and took some shots as we commemorated a photograph that was taken at the beginning of World War II.

A young boy broke from his mother’s grasp reaching for his father who was marching off to war.

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I am a photographer, albeit an amateur. But I know why this shot struck a nerve worldwide and still does.

There is an honesty to the anguish, to the fear….

It is the last photo of the family as a unit.  A small boy in that moment knew somewhere deep within that his life was about to be forever changed.

And as I continue to see horrific images of people dying horrific deaths, I’ve no answers.

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I got up this morning and readied myself for work.

God, it was beautiful out! The moon still flirted in her magnificence, while the clouds that lingered shone pink and a mist hung mysteriously on the river wrapping the trees in a sultry manner.

I stopped to get my morning coffee and man I see frequently was curled up on the sidewalk.

“Could you mange a coffee for me this morning?” he asked.

“ Sure. You good with cream and sugar?”

I got him a muffin as well.

We exchanged pleasantries when I delivered the goods and he thanked me.

As I drove into work, an obscure thought slipped through the grey matter.

“What if this guy were Jesus in the expected second coming?”

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How many of us see these people as being invisible?  There are so many out there now, too many.  I don’t know what brought him to this point, in his life but as stated earlier, we make our choices then we live with the results.

Still, for some, well likely for many, the road is not quite as conquerable as we’d like.

I am a bit odd in that I’ve got the tenacity of a badger and the heart of horse. I look for the good, seek the good yet I’ve known enough crap to appreciate life on a whole different level.

And we only have this day.

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I wake each morning grateful. Another shot at doing, another chance to make a difference, another opportunity to influence change?

And I’m no one special; just a woman who has far too many things running through her head at any given time.

I am preparing at 8:39 PM to head home. The ad in the bathroom stall is somewhat confusing.

Collectible plastic toys are being offered. There are 800 in all. And as I do my business I find myself saddened. Sell your condoms, your taxis, your warnings about smoking or drinking too much…but toys?

What does that say about our footprint?

Another poster of the UFC guy is hanging in the bathroom.

Pausing I look at the image. I wash my hands and leave.

Nothing much to say really. They are selling a product. One I don’t adhere to and it makes me feel sad simply because of it’s physicality and intent.

Oh, I can assure you that when I watch hockey this year I won’t turn in horror when the gloves come off.

And again, it comes down to conditioning.

I am feeling chilled. Time to head home and wrap a fleece blanket about my feet.

We only this moment.

Enjoy it.

Peace be with you always and may love always shine its light.

The New Independence


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A teenage boy sits in the middle of the wilderness.  A shiny clean Ford pick-up and a man (presumably the father?) are in the backdrop.  A computer is perched on the teen’s lap and he is skyping his mom.

She gushes “You made it!” to her smiling son.

The punch line to this Ford commercial is ‘Welcome to the New Independence!”

If that is what independence now looks like,  I firmly believe someone forgot to cut the umbilical cord.

I did something last week I’ve not done is a long time.  On Sunday I slept in.  And I didn’t go anywhere or talk to anyone.  I did some writing, cleaned my house, washed some clothes then curled up and watched a bit of television.

I can’t remember the last time I decided to just cocoon myself within the walls of my home.  Perhaps what was stranger yet is that I found this rather remarkable in some strange sense.

Just how plugged in have we become?

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And so I pondered this commercial and so many more that cater to a populace that seems to thrive on the next technological ‘wonder’ with a fervor or perhaps a fever?

Send a text or an email to a friend, family member or loved one and if the response isn’t reasonably quick, worry sets in.  Something is wrong!  The phone call is made and voicemail comes on.  A sense of panic washes over you.

Then you stop to think if you’ve perhaps offended in some way?

You feel a little foolish when it is discovered that they were in the shower or in a meeting….or, I don’t know, living?

And they were doing so without you.   Strange.

I stopped to get my coffee fix at Starbuck’s this morning as I always do on my way to work.  A beautiful day was dawning.  The rising sun was kissing the clouds causing them to blush a deep pink.  The sky was a sleepy blue and a mist hugged the trees.

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I slipped back into the car and began my trek to the office as Willy and the gang discussed on the radio that distracted drivers (i.e. those using their phones to text and  talk) were now responsible for more vehicle accidents causing serious injury and death than drunk drivers.

This caught my attention and began to really observe those on the road with me this morning.  It didn’t take long before I noted driver’s with their heads looking down toward their lap or looking downward at the passenger seat even though no one was in the car with them.

Some openly held the phone in front them as they spoke into it.

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Hey I’m no saint.  I’ve used my phone a time or two while driving, though rarely.  I’ve never tried to text.  Still, this really raised a certain awareness for me.   I am now committed to never using the phone while driving.

I love to drive.  I love to crank up the radio and sing to a favorite song.  I always enjoy the changing vista that surrounds me and often I am stimulated in the creative sense.  Man, there is nothing worse then having a line or two for a story that you’ve been working on suddenly rise to the surface and you just happen to be doing 100 KM on the highway!

But here we are now evermore enslaved by these technological tools that have invaded our lives.  I am no longer working in the downtown core, however, when I was it was increasingly apparent this absorption with the iPhone, Smart phone, Android…whatever it is we are calling this thing.

I’ve posted about this.  Of how I’ve had people walk into me and barely glance up.  Heads bent with that familiar little screen glowing up at them.

My daughter mentioned at dinner tonight that this was likely becoming an addiction of sorts and it was probable that some form of neurosis would result.  Sadly, I do believe she’s right.

She was also correct in stating that collectively we’ve never been lonelier.  I love conversing and sharing ideas.  I confessed, and rightly so, that often I have very strong opinions and its a well known fact that I’ve had my foot in my mouth more times than I can remember.  That is who I am.  I do learn from conversations and debates though.  A point of view will be expressed giving me pause and open up an entire new path of thought for me.

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Still, even when the tongue is running with blinders firmly in place…it is still just my expression of thought.  There is no malice or ill intent.  Just me thinking I know everything.

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I’m silly, garish, brash and at times amusing, even humorous.  I’m also intelligent, thoughtful, intense and care very deeply about this world I inhabit.

The idea of conveying all your thoughts, of who you are through, texts and tweets, well, my daughter pointed out that all of this could be edited, until the sender was satisfied it represented who they thought they were.

But was it accurate?

In a conversation you can say things in the heat of the moment.  Emotions can run high at times.  At the end of it however, Are you giving an impression of who you really are perhaps?

And as I write this, there is some conflict, because writing is such strong expression for me.

There is a difference though.  I’ve a very deep love of these things we call words.

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And while I have a Twitter account, I’ve found having only 140 characters impossible to work with.  I’m still far too long winded.  But again, I digress.

What is happening to us?

In 1997 I purchased my first computer.  I can recall being on a ‘chat room’ talking with people who were in Australia.  This fascinated me.  And what do you suppose I asked them?

Oh, it was hopelessly mundane.  “What’s the weather doing?”  “Do your toilets really flush counter clock wise?”

Why I needed verification of this type I cannot say. I was a different woman back in 1997.  I was emerging rather awkwardly into this life.  And while I’ve made leaps and bounds in the social department, I can still be totally inappropriate in what is uttered from these lips of mine.

Still I am searching for the human experience. I want to drown in it.  Want to find its honesty, its wealth, its truth…my truth.

I want to find a certain peace.

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I don’t know.

Somehow skyping someone from a desert or a forest or from wherever to let them know they are where they are holds little appeal.

The new independence.  From what?

Definitively I am very independent. I’ve had to be.  The life plan dished out dictated as such.  And what is independence?

It is in my mind it is someone who is ‘stand alone and self-sufficient’.   They don’t need anyone.

There are times when I wish I could ask for help, when I could admit I’m only human, when I could express comfortably my vulnerabilities.

That requires a great deal of trust and I’m still working feverishly on letting myself do this naturally.

I hope Carol reads this post.

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She was a pen pal of mine some 40 plus years ago.  It used to take some three weeks to a month to mail a letter over seas.  Carol lived in England and I, of course, in Vancouver, BC Canada.

We wrote for a few years. Pen pals were the thing back in the day.

And while I was writing Carol, my life was falling apart…rapidly.  I don’t know what I told her.  I don’t know if she knew.  But close to 40 years later I received a message on Facebook.

At the time I wasn’t very good at checking messages.  Carol had sent me a message asking me if I was the person she’d written in her youth.

It blew me away.  This was my pen pal after all these years.  And I hope to meet her one of these days.

We shared an energy, a time, a confidence.  Both young girls with a life ahead of us.  And we made choices.

Yet I must thank technology for allowing me to connect to her again.

No, I’ll not slam this ‘new independence’ of ours.  Perhaps we should use it with caution and appreciation though.

The frailty of youth is that they think they know how to resolve the sins of the past.

In time they’ll come to know it’s just human behavior.

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A bronzed moosehead gazes out above a fake fireplace tonight down at Begbie’s.  A barrel of peanuts sits at the door for those barbarians who will swill the shells upon the floor after consumption.

The Eagles serenade me over the sound system as I wrap this up.  I’ve watched an array of personalities come and go in the last two hours.

The girls that work here know me.  I pop down from time to time on a consistent basis to write.  It’s what I do.

And as this night closes all I can think is just how grateful I am to be here.  How much I love all of those that share my life, how much I love the energy beings that encourage and drive me each day.

Blessings and peace to you all.  And always offer a smile and greeting. It’s just good form.

Namaste.

 

 

c

Learning to Exhale…..


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I have been a member of the Royal City Literary Arts Society for a few months now.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several very talented and well renowned poets and writers.

This group offers several workshops and open mic events.  This, I realized, was something I desperately needed to work on.  Public speaking is rather intimidating to me.  By the time I get up to do my piece , typically I’ve inhaled and am sweating buckets.

I remind myself to breathe and do so rather raggedly.

Seventy-four years ago an iconic photograph was taken here in New Westminster has Canada advanced into World War II.  On October 4th, 2014 a monument will be unveiled commemorating this event at the very location that the photograph was taken from.

The City of New Westminster approached the Royal City Arts Society (a.k.a. RCLAS) and asked the members to submit poems regarding the photograph titled ‘Wait for Me, Daddy.”  It was taken by Charles Detloff of the Daily Province newspaper and later that  month would make it onto page 37 of TIME magazine.

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RCLAS posted the poetry challenge to its members.   I opted to give it a shot and my submission was one of the poems selected.

Tonight we had the poetry reading at the newly opened Anvil Centre here in New Westminster.  This was apparently the first cultural event there.  Personally this would be the first ‘formal’ reading I would be participating in.

I got home from work then paced my living room reading the poem aloud repeatedly.

I have watched many of the seasoned poets in this group get up and perform their pieces.  And I thought perhaps I should try this approach.  This was only my fourth time reading and if my furniture was any indication they were captivated by my reading.  I rendered the inanimate things speechless!

Now it was time for the real deal.

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I walked over to the centre. It’s only about four and half blocks away from my home.  We’ve had several days of much needed rain, quite heavy at times, but the skies had softened and the clouds had broken as I stepped out into the evening.

As the poets were called forth with a brief bio to introduce each, I felt the nerves set in.  When my name was called I rose in my liquid state and performed the piece kinda sorta the way I wanted to.  I was a little emotional and when the paper I was holding began to tremble I just tried not to think about it and pushed through.

I was humbled by the response to my reading and very grateful for the opportunity to be part of this event.

Below is my submission.

If you would like to check out the other submissions I have provided the link at the end of this post.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Nancy Pilling

A native of Vancouver, Nancy Pilling moved to New Westminster in 2010. She is currently employed as an accountant in North Vancouver. She has had a lifelong love of writing and is dedicated to this passion of hers. It is Nancy’s desire to continue exploring the many avenues of the written word and to publish her work.

A Single Moment
by Nancy Pilling

It is a single moment captured and frozen in a frame,
A photographer’s dream,
A small piece of history now has a face, a single image and its power,
Still felt to this day,
It spoke to the agony of a people, to a nation, to the world.

The world back then was tough and gritty,
The Great Depression had weathered us all,
War now held us in its grip,
We were a young country then, just finding our feet,
Collectively we stood together.
Canada would fight for the liberties we were coming to know,
We’d fight for the vision of a country imagined in a world gone mad,
And we’d fight for the freedom that was ours to defend,
And we would do so with innocent bravado.

An outstretched hand son to father,
The line of troops in perfect symmetry,
Expressions, the angst and determination,
Emotions, the love and fear,
Immortalized as time stood still.
He lived and I wonder who walked back into his son’s life?
Was it a familiar stranger, or was it Dad?
Did he bear the confidence once shown?
Or was the gift of his time in hell
Memories of a bloody field that would haunt the rest of his days?

My father too fought in this war,
A young man, he was eighteen and so brave,
Dad’s stories were never told, he held tight to those terrors,
That hell of his remained a mystery and died with him,
But we lived his horror every day,
At least that’s the reason I’d like think as to why he turned out that way,
Maligned and damaged, so dark his soul barring the shadow of a boy who was no more.

The innocence of youth saw young men march to war who sacrificed a promised life,
What was that boy losing the day his father marched away?

http://rclas.com/waitforme#

Affirmation


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This has been an eventful week at the new job. There was a degree of discord from one of the worker’s there who will be leaving as a result of me assuming all responsibilities.

I am a ‘lovely woman’ whom she see’s herself ‘divorcing’.

I was and am very sympathetic  to her sensibilities.  Still, this is business.  Nothing more.  She can work her ass off trying to prove whatever it is she is caught up in, but I know all too well the bosses’ really have no interest in her personal life.  You need to produce.  Simple as that.

That acceptance as made me very good at my job.  And yes, it has taken awhile to learn these lessons.  Not that I’m  a slow learner…just a very stubborn one at times.:

I hope that the vision I am developing for this company comes to fruition.  I’m all business.  This isn’t about what the company can and should do for me.

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I am the worker bee you see.  This is about saying ‘Lets try doing this and that.  We’ll be more efficient.  More productive.  Better overhead results in higher profits.’

It is quite simply, business.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  You must separate to some degree your personal self with your business self.

Because of my journey I actually have a deeper insight into this.

I left work and arriving home tucked my pages and computer into my backpack.  I decided to head off for dinner and do some editing.

Boston Pizza won the decision for where I would dine.

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As I entered the establishment I looked past the host who was intent on seating me.  My eyes were now trained on an old friend.  I was half engaged with the gentleman who wanted to seat me and the friend whom was in my sight.

Brian.

I’d traversed through the hallowed halls of school from Grade 1 to Grade 11 with him.  We’d put together the 30 year reunion together.  He lives with is wife just a meer block from my domain.

I waved my hand and he looked up then rose to greet and folded me in his arms.

Brian had a stroke three weeks ago. This shocked me.

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He smiled rather sardonically and sadly  stating ‘Aging sucks.’

I laughed and agreed. I told him of my issues.  Discussed the emotional head games these things play out.  Then informed him to commit to a few hours out with Marie and I.

The three of us put together the 30 year reunion.  What I can I tell you is that year of  piecing together out past cemented me to so many aspects of who I used to be.

And I needed that.

So if I see a friend who has suffered, know this.  All the positive energy I have is being directed to your well being.

There are people who so quietly touch your life.  Brian I would say is one of those people.

Yet, there is a profundity to it.

Phone Pics July 2014 069He matters. He has all the school pictures of us from Grade 1 to Grade 11. He sees just me, not the latest invention of who I thought I should be.  Brian has gone through his own hell.  And I guess that’s what we need to embrace and understand about our journey during this life.

Despite our successes and losses…at the end of day…we are all simply human.

And I will always try to offer the most sincere and honest response to someone’s situation.

To those I hold dear…know that it is doubled.

And if you cannot articulate what burdens you… I understand this so deeply. I will not speak for you.  Your voice, your emotions, your feelings are necessary.  All I can do is hopefully give them a face.  Give them voice. Give them life.

Long ago I accepted that my roll in this world is souly dependent upon the organic thought provided to me by simply living.

It sounds simplistic…but really its not.

I commit to this world to assist in bringing an honest and forgiving truth to how we live our lives.

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For Art’s Sake


 

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I’ve been out for the majority of this day. It’s been a good one, a rich one.

The plan had originally been to head out to Deep Cove and hike up Quarry Rock then grab a nibble.  A late night and the uncertainty of the weather had my daughter and I going for breakfast in Deep Cove and later exploring Cates Park.

Now that I am working over in the area its time to reacquaint myself with my surroundings.

It really is beautiful.

Later we went back to my daughter’s home and had some tea.  I then left to meet up with some friends to take in Douglas Coupland’s exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This, quite frankly, was one the best exhibits I’ve seen a good long while. It pounced and stung quickly.

A table containing a chewed up plastic container with rusted out aerosol cans and the like inserted into the slots greeted us. The table base of styrofoam and plastic was rigged with wires….

An explosive thought, yes?  This was going to be good!

Photographing the pieces was highly encouraged. Lego structures were featured quite prominently. Then I began to think about what these plastic pieces were made from.

Can you destroy a Lego piece? I’m really not too sure.

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Images and structures continued to assault and intrigue the senses. Each section of the exhibit was deliberate in its intent. One display held one hundred housing constructs made from Lego. All were identical in their suburban design. This was the dream sold to the masses after World War II.

Everyone would have the home with the white picket fence, a car in the drive, two and a half children, with two weeks vacation every year.

It was the ideal that was sold to a war weary world and we bought it.

Consumerism was born in a big way.

Now you had to have the automatic washer and dryer, then the colour TV. Of course, TV dinners came into play and my God, the things that decorated our homes!

Plastic fruit in garish bowls adorned our coffee tables. Velvet Elvis’ hung on the wall while red shag carpeting covered our floors.

Polyester clothing became the rage.

And do you know the one thing these all have in common? Oil.

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They have an oil based compound in their makeup. All plastics do.

We came into a room that housed a miniature town of nuclear reactors, an automotive assembly plant, electrical grids galore and cameras everywhere.

I leaned in to study the intricacies of this designed piece. One of the cameras moved to watch me and so now curious I moved to my left.

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It followed me.

I moved to my right and yes, it followed me. I repeated this several times with the same result.

I stepped back then repeated my movements. Nothing.

So they had set it up with a sensor. Brilliant!

Big brother is watching. Always…should you happen to get to close.

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The next room screamed at me.

“I miss my pre-internet Brain”

The walls were filled with identically sized canvases of various colours with phrases on them such as the one above. And perhaps because I’ve started a new job where I am stepping back in time in terms of technology and using a DOS based progam, there is a certain appreciation and reflection of how far we travelled on this technological yellow brick road.

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And like those erstwhile characters who travelled to Oz, will we find that we had everything we wanted but were just to sidetracked or blind to see it?

We stepped into the next room and I felt the swell of emotion hit me. In the center of the room stood two structures designed to replicate the twin towers in New York. The walls were covered with geometric dotted art pieces.

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They didn’t look like much visually. It wasn’t until you raised your camera phone that the image came through.

And tears stung my eyes.

The dots were the people jumping from the twin towers on that fateful day. One was of Bin Laden.

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I stood for a moment contemplating the obscurity of these images.

Do you know how much our world changed that day? It changed dramatically and irrevocably for the worst. Fear championed that day. We were collectively horrified at the darkness humanity had fallen to.

And for no other reason other than it is intrinsically instilled in our DNA, we laid the blame on one man.

Bin Laden, who would live out his days in the caves of Afghanistan. He’d surface from time to time uttering the all too common phrase ‘Death to America.’

And this was the face of evil personified.

The final room of the exhibit held a plethora of items, all made from plastics and other manufactured textures.

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Several oil cans were bunched together surrounded by toys that had been produced with said product and with the intent of being inconspicuous was the plastic model of a duck drowned in oil.

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This was tucked at the base and could have been easily missed. Perhaps that was the point as all too often in this life we turn the other cheek so to speak. Easy to adopt the out of sight, out of mind kind of crap.

We then went upstairs and checked out the other features that were being displayed.

Some of the pieces are interactive art. And I really like these pieces. One that has been up for awhile shows a red curtain. A few moments later an older woman, rather dowdy in appearance, rather bookish as it were steps through the curtains. She is wearing a shapeless deep blue suit with sensible black shoes.

She stands with hands folded in front of her. A nervous smile plays upon her lips.

I’ve seen this before and I know what this piece intends.

So I stood next to my friend and watched.

She was feeling anxious, a tightness in her chest. This would shift subtly to exasperation. Then the sense of being a little annoyed would wash over her.

About seven minutes in the woman is shifting a bit….though it is very subtle.

I asked my friend. “Do you feel fatigued? Tired and heavy?”

She did.

“Does the woman appear tired and exhausted from standing before an audience?”

My friend nodded.

Then the woman turns and disappears behind the curtain.

Not a word is spoken…yet the emotional kaleidoscope provoked is intriguing.

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What do you see in this image?

Douglas Coupland is an author as well, best known for penning “Generation X”.

There was a portion that totally intrigued.

He took the pages from his book and chewed them into pulp. He then shaped them into hornet nests. He also had real hornet nests in attendance (minus the hornets) to provide an honest comparison.

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The challenge in this piece was the longevity of the written word.

Art should make you think. It should inspire on some level.

They had a feature upstairs that displayed landscapes, portraiture and the like. What could possibly be interesting about portraiture, you ask?

I like to try and divine the expression that’s been captured. That is the intrigue for me in this form.

Landscapes can be dramatic or just plain.

Again, art is very subjective. We are not going to like all of what we see.

It is those moments when the pieces scream at us and yes, we get it. That is what I look for, that is what I live for.

When someone’s work speaks so eloquently to me, then the artist has done their job.

And I leave myself open daily. Each day I exist has an altruistic element to me.
And this is what Douglas Coupland had to say regarding this exhibit and I quote.

“I look back at myself two decades ago, and I think of how different me and my brain were back then…and how differently I looked at the world and how I communicated with others. The essential ‘me’ is still here…it just relates to the universe much differently. What will the world look like when anywhere becomes everywhere becomes everything becomes anything? We’re almost there.”

Douglas Coupland

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My friends and I later went for a nibble and discussed some fascinating topics. We spoke of the tragedies of this world, of its beauty and our responsibility to it.

In that context I have only myself to hold to account in how I interact with the world that has been provided to me and that, like a blank canvas, is up to me to give back.

It struck me today this odd sense of entitlement we have. These gadgets we’ve been told that will make out lives unspeakably happy.

The house that once looked like a million others, has now escalated to a family room (aka great room?), a living room, a kitchen, an eating area, a formal dining room, master bedroom with full ensuite (shower, soaker tub or Jacuzzi, double sinks and a walk-in closet). Then of course all the other bedrooms should have a bathroom. Balconies and BBQ pits and hey, you really should have an in home theatre. A bliss room is good along with an in-house gym as long as you’re in it for the long haul.

When did this become normal?

Do you know the ecological footprint you’re leaving in wanting and having all this?

And what is the point?

Are you above me because you’ve managed to assemble these accruements into your life?

It takes a lot of energy to produce this and a great deal more to maintain it.

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And personally I want to focus more on sending out the love that I feel so blessed to have in my life back out into this world.

Things won’t make me special or important. Just living with a grateful and forgiving heart will, and in my mind, give back to this world that has offered so much.

If there is a secret to this life, I haven’t a clue. I’ll just venture down this avenue and seriously enjoy all that’s been afforded to me.

Douglas Coupland’s exhibit gave me serious cause to pause and really look at how I can improve my interactions with our organic world.  After all, I am an organic being.  We all are.

If you live in Vancouver or have access to the VAG I would strongly suggest you check out this exhibit. It is my understanding that this show will be moving to Montreal at the end of September.

Any feedback you have is always welcome and thanks for checking out this post.

Namaste.

50 Shades of….Orange?


 

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Secret Garden

The marathon painting session left me rather delirious.  Each coat of burnt orange applied to the chocolate wall seemed to simply melt into it.  So began the test of wills.  I would defeat this wall!  Conquer it completely.  It would become my firewall.

The colour, when first applied, appeared to be pumpkin.

Fear ran through me.  What if I’d made a mistake with my choice of colour?  What if, upon completion, it looked so horrible that I ran screaming from the room tearing the newly grown hair from my head?

I smiled at the dramatic scenario’s I was entertaining as I pondered all the written works that would be produced from my orange room.

I like tasks such as painting a room. For me there is always a reason for the transformation and the colour of choice that reaches out to me.  I also like that it’s my energy that is going into the transformation.

Mind you some seven hours to paint one room had the imagination becoming quite derelict.  I stopped for yet another bathroom break near the end of this lunacy.  Food had been consumed sporadically.  Yogurt, apple, grapes, crackers….

Just the basic sustenance.

Local pics July 2014 023My secret garden

A great deal of water had been consumed. On this hot summer day the temperature rose to about 30 degree Celsius.  Luckily, I face north and have the benefit of my secret garden that provides major cooling to my unit.  Still, the sight that greeted me in the bathroom mirror made me chuckle.

I was a complete puddle covered in fifty shades of orange. It was on my face, in my hair, paint was everywhere.

And oh, the decadent thoughts that sprang to mind that would in fact parody the unmentionable ‘grey’ version of said title.

Oh my!

This is not an X-rated blog though.  So I will keep it clean.

Still, the thought that sprang to mind was of our heroine showing up not to interview the mysterious Mr. Grey but paint his rooms….orange.

“What shade of orange do you prefer, Mr. Grey?” she asks him provocatively.

He smiles seductively at her. “I like it burnt, baby.  I like it so hot, it scorches.”

Oh my!

She pulls out a swatch or two and slaps them dramatically on the wall.  (This action was of course dictated by her inner Goddess).

“Are these hot enough for you, Mr. Grey?” she inquires enticingly.

He zeros in on a shade…it’s called Cinnamon Spice.

“I used to know a stripper by that name.” he reminisces fondly.  “Come, I’ll show you the room to be painted.”

Our heroine follows him down the hall and he leads her into a chamber designed for sexual play.

Glancing about she takes note of the additional work it will require to remove all the pullies, chains and the like from the walls

“I’ll have to charge you double, if not more, Mr. Grey.”  she advises him.

“I’m a rich man.  I’ll draw up the contract and do take as much time as you need.” he assures her.

They smile at one another.

Oh my!

Yes, I made the mistake a couple of years ago in reading this book.  It became quite a contentious issue with my writing group.  We would find ourselves yelling at each other over how poorly it was written.  why we yelled at each other, we don’t know. Finally we banished it from all future conversations.

If we did refer to it  at all, it was ‘the book that we were not supposed to talk about’.

So this is the first bit of written work produced from the orange room.  I am having giggle or two.

Interestingly enough I found a pamphlet tucked away yesterday regarding colour energy.

Orange is the spleen chakra that connects us to our emotional self.  It inspires happiness, confidence and resourcefulness.  The energy infused brings joy to the work day and strengthens our appreciation for life.  The colour orange also helps us remove our inhibitions.

Oh My!

All parody and playfulness aside, I love the result.

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Equine publishing in it’s infancy

Interestingly enough I did my bedroom in a sage green.  Green is the heart chakra and this relax muscles, nerves and thoughts.  Local pics July 2014 046Little Grass Horses

As I look around this room now I am envisioning some of the photographs that I’ve taken that I plan to mount.  I’ve a few visuals I still need to find but this is now the home of Equine Publishing.

The dream is transforming into life.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

The Firewall…Creating a Creative Space


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This is a selfie…oh, I know…I just booed about this…but I’d just gone for an interview that resulted in a new job!

I am starting my own company as you may well know. Equine Publishing is very close to becoming operational.  All the furnishings are in place.  Most of the legalities are taken care of.  I am getting close.  Exciting!

What has been bothering me lately is the colour of the room.  I’ve never really liked it.  In fact, when I purchased the place, both bedrooms were done in chocolate and tan.  The colours made the rooms cavernous and rather blah as far as I was concerned.

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My home office at about 10:00 AM today.

I painted my bedroom a lovely sage green. It is a restful colour, a soothing colour.  My daughter, however,  liked the colour of the room so I left it.

Now that she’s moved out and I ‘ve transformed it into my office, a space that I want to be creative in, the colour had to change.  I pondered my choices.

The idea of a burnt orange, a deep autumn colour held a great deal of appeal.  So it was off to explore and I brought home swatches and taped them to the wall.

I wanted vibrant.  I wanted heat.

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The home office at 10:00 PM this evening

At first I considered doing the entire room in the chosen colour  Lunch with the girls on Sunday convinced me otherwise.  It would be too much for a space that wasn’t very big.  So I would keep the feature wall, that was currently chocolate and paint it Caribbean Spice ( a deep orange). The other three walls would be painted Salmonberry which has a peachy tinge to it.

I’ve never had an orange room before.

Last night I hit the hardware store and got them to concoct my colour schemes.  I felt that curl of excitement race through me.  I love to paint a room for a particular purpose.

Trust me when I tell you some of my choices in years past have become legendary and not for all the right reasons either.  Still they are remembered by friends fondly and sarcastically.  And you know, I’m fine with that.  If there is one thing I’ve always done it’s take chances with room colours.

Approximately twenty years ago I had been living in the basement suite of a house and had the opportunity to move upstairs.

The walls were a dull beige in colour, the kitchen had brown tiles and the rest of the house had glorious hardwood!

It was an old house built back in the 1930’s.  One of the owners had developed the attic into a loft.

I had been in a year long depression around that time and I was emerging from it.

I found the rooms drab and depressing so I asked the landlord if I could paint the place.  Affirmative and I could submit the cost of the paint and they would reimburse me.

The attic, which was my daughter’s bedroom and space, was done in a dusty rose.

My bedroom and the spare bedroom were done in a light lavender.  The kitchen was done in white and baby blue.  The floor tiles replaced with white and nave tiles and the living room was done in white and pink.

And the bathroom…well, it has become something of a legend.

This I did in florescent lime green.

Even with the lights off I swear it glowed in the dark.  Some will tell you they needed sunglasses on to enter.  Some will say it burnt out their retinas.  Of course, they are being a little mellow dramatic.  Still, I do admit that it was extraordinarily bright.

I like vibrant colours though, particularly in living spaces.  A bedroom for sure needs to be done in muted and calming colours.  I do like warmth in my choices though.

Today was an adventure in a new product I’d never tried before.  I opted to try the combination of paint and primer for the chocolate wall that I was transforming into a deep, burnt orange.  I figured I could save myself some time.

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At 10:20 AM my saga began.  At 7:30 PM it had more or less ended.  I still have a bit of trim to do.

The chocolate wall required six coats and close to a gallon of paint.  The other three walls in Salmonberry required two coats of paint with a bit left over for trim.

The time frame noted above includes prep and clean up.

My body is stupidly tired and stiff.  I’ve a feeling that waking on the morrow might well be a painful experience.

Ahhhh! What we do for our art!

Still, its important if this is to be the space where I am to create masterfully crafted stories.

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I need the insanity of colour. I need the rich heat.  I need to feel like the walls will burn me if touched.

And I would love to hear from my fellow wordsmiths what colours inspire them.

As stated I’ve never had an orange room before.  After six coats of paint I’m delighted with my choice of colour on the feature wall.

A hot shower, pain relief spray and some Tylenol will hopefully make waking tomorrow tolerable.

It has never taken me this long to paint one room before.

And this was an important choice as noted.

And please I would love to know what colour schemes inspire and entice you.  Let me know. Cheers!

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