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Highlights of 2016

I'm staring this post on January 11, 2016 - to keep better track of what happens in the year.
This is going to be a long post.

  • Went back to work after two months medical leave for a myomectomy
  • Got so tired in the first week - that it made me focus on my body and physical health more
  • Worked at sleeping 8 hours, drinking 8 cups of water, eating 5 small nutritious meals, doing yoga everyday.
  • Began to become more aware. 
  • Went to The Rex for the first time. (I know this doesn't seem like much but I don't go many places. And I am often a bit insecure about going into a "cool" place.)
  • Caught a cold in the second week of January - stayed home for another three days. Was not happy to have to feel ill so much. Not sure how I would handle a chronic/terminal illness if I had one. 
  • Read Thich Nhat Hanh's The Miracle of Mindfulness.
  • Learned to do everyday tasks with more awareness. 
  • Learned to see everyday life as more beautiful and sacred. 
  • Realized that what I really wanted to do, was be an artist. 
  • Was able to see the life force in me - and was blown away. For the first time in my life, I think I began to fall in love with me. 
  • Spent a lot of time in the year in pain - my flat feet were tired. Had to get custom orthotics. Had to hobble around in miserable pain a lot. Wondered what it would be like to have a disability and what accessibility means for those who don't have it. 
  • Visited my brother and the family in the States. Was great to hang out with my niece and nephew. 
  • Went to New York! Was a good trip. 
  • Went to the MoMa. Saw the Edgar Degas Printmaking Show. Was wonderful. 
  • Went to Central Park and loved it. 
  • Took the Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty. 
  • Met a friend from college and his wife in New York. We haven't seen him since their wedding - maybe 8/9 years ago. Was nice to meet an old friend. 
  • Went to Times Square and did not like it. I really don't like crowds. 
  • Took an Introduction to Drawing Class at Toronto School of Art. Absolutely LOVED it! My skills were greatly improved and I enjoyed every minute of it. 
  • Made a new friend at the class. :) 
  • Carved and made my very first lino cut prints. You can see them here: Printing
  • Made some cards with the blocks and wrote notes to friends. 
  • Read Thich Nhat Hanh's Reconcilliation: Healing the Inner Child
  • Read Danny Gregory's Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done
  • Read Maya Angelou's Letter to My Daughter
  • Read Seth Godin's What To Do When It's Your Turn - And It's Always Your Turn
  • Realized that I needed to do good work. Work that mattered to me and to others - even if it was just a small group of people. 
  • Realized that I did not want to waste more time doing things just because I had to. 
  • Realized that I needed to be around people who were also striving, also wanting to be more than they were. 
  • I hate mediocrity and I am mediocre. I need to change that. 
  • Joined the YMCA! 
  • Took swimming lessons. 
  • I met Jean Paul Riopelle's Chevreuse II. It was a spirit experience. I have since visited the AGO a few times and visit with the painting. I am learning much from these visits. 
  • I went to a movement session. It was wonderful. I realized that I need to have movement and ecstatic dance in my life. 
  • I learned that I am a physical person - my body, my mind, and my emotions are very strongly connected. I have not paid enough attention to my body because I believed my mind was more important. But I am nothing without my body and my body is wise. I want to work more on learning her wisdom. 
  • I learnt that I need to care for my spirit. This is crucial to my existence. 
  • I'm learning to meditate. 
  • I'm learning to love my body. 
  • I finished some quilts this year! You can see them here: Happy Turtle Quilts
  • Worked 4 days a week for a few months this year. Spent the day drawing. 
  • Went to the Toronto Reference Library and drew. Enjoyed that. 
  • Spent some time at the AGO. 
  • Realized that I didn't have to hang out with people who brought me down. There was no need. We might have been friends at a certain time in our lives and that is good. We all change and sometimes you have to let go. 
  • Moved to a new apartment! We spent four years in our old one. This one is nicer and has more space. I like it here. Feel more grown up! 
  • It's a lot of work to move apartments in this city - applying for apartments is like applying for a job or a visa! It takes a lot and I feel good about us making this move. 
  • Got some nice furniture for our new place. 
  • Took Intermediate Drawing with Paul Turner at Toronto School of Art.  I felt like I should have taken more introductory classes before I took this one. Still, at the end of the class I can see a lot of improvement and it seems that I have grasped more than I thought I had. So I am happy with the class. You can see my final project here: Life Drawing
  • I found that I quite enjoy Life Drawing. I never intended to work on drawing people, but there is life energy in the process and it is beautiful. 
  • Got Adobe Illustrator and learning how to use it! 
  • Designed a logo for my friend's catering company. SWAD
  • Was very affected by the results of the US Elections. Think it might have pushed me into a dark place. 
  • Realized that I needed to do creative work for my existence - that when I don't do it my soul and my body dies slowly every day. 
  • My aunt died this year - my dad's youngest sister.
  • My close friend's father passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Every time death comes close you can feel it. Even if you are not directly in its path. The big open wound that is my own father's death hurts again. 
  • There was a lot of physical pain this year - a lot! 
  • Went to Toronto Symphony Orchestra's ABBA concert. It was wonderful. This is my second time! :) 
  • Our friends from Arizona visited us again. It was nice to see them. We babysat their little boy for a few hours. It was fun. 
  • We have now been married 10 years! I think this year we were able to see each other better and love each other better. 
  • Did a 100 Day Project. Didn't get through to 100 but I think it opened me up creatively. You can see it on Instagram.
  • Went to Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Messiah.  It was excellent! Every year at Christmas I tell myself I want to do this and I never get my act together. This year I was on it! I wouldn't mind going every year. 
  • Bought tickets to the Bon Jovi show for next year! 
  • Bought tickets to the Neil Diamond show for next year! Can't believe they are both going to be here next year! 
  • Spent some time by the waterfront at Queen and Roncesvales. 
  • Read This is Water by David Foster Wallace
  • Listened to Neil Gaiman's 2012 Commencement Speech, "Make Good Art". 
  • We bought some Tintins this year - read all of them. 
  • Went to a sewing day with other quilters. We made quilts to be donated to refugees. 
  • Had my first Reiki session this year! A gift from my brother and sister-in-law. It was really wonderful. Must find a good practitioner here. 
  • Bought a lot of art supplies! :)
  • Re-watched Friends. All 10 seasons. Such a fun show! 
  • Re-watched The Big Bang Theory. 
  • Spent Christmas Day with my husband, in our new home quietly reading, talking, with jazz Christmas music softly playing in the background. It was the most beautiful time. This year has felt very busy, and very noisy. In the past few months I felt more and more disconnected with myself. I needed so desperately to get back in touch, to be quiet, to see myself again and I was able to with a day spent quietly, reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, working through the exercises and journaling. 
  • Spent Boxing Day at the AGO. It was lovely. Went to the Dim Sum place for lunch. 
  • Had a quiet week off at home between Christmas and New Year. I really needed it. 
  • Decided to do a 365 Day Project. You can see it on my Instagram
  • Spent some time at DeSerres and bought paint! 
  • Mailed a Thank You card to an old theater teacher of mine. I messaged him to get his address and he was so happy to hear from me. We had a lovely conversation and turns out he just bought The Artist's Way


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Jean Paul Riopelle - Chevreuse II

There are times when you are so drawn in to a piece of art that you experience something that you cannot quite explain. It becomes a "spirit" moment. A glimpse into mystery, wonder, and divinity.

Jean Paul Riopelle's Chevreuse II did this for me today. I went to the AGO to see the Turner exhibition. It was ok. Very crowded. I moved through it quickly.

I walked around for a little bit without a particular purpose and walked into a room with this painting. It's a huge painting and it instantly drew me in. I gasped. I walked closer and I didn't leave for a very long time. I stood there and looked up at it and the longer I stayed the more overwhelmed I was. I don't really know how to explain the sensations or what I was feeling. All I know is that I was moved and the only thing I could do was keep looking with sometimes teary eyes.

Blue Sky

We've had some gorgeous days here in Toronto. It's that time just after summer and going into Fall when the leaves are beginning to turn, when its not quite cold enough for a jacket, and the air is crisp but not too cold.

And the sky!

The sky is a clear blue sometimes with dancing clouds and sometimes with none at all.
The sun shines bright but gentle and there are leaves on the trees and flowers in gardens.

It's a beautiful time.

And yet, in other places hurricanes have washed out homes, people are stranded and the sky is gray and angry. It's hard to hold these two realities together. Maybe its hard if you try to find an answer or need to be comfortable. I want to experience the joy of a beautiful sky. I can't seem to do it without thinking of those who don't have this sky today. Can I think of them and still enjoy the sky?

Maybe that is what I must learn.


This was this morning.
This reminded me of Sunshine by John Denver. So I played his music which reminded me of my childhood and my father who used to introduced me to John Denver's music along with other 70's pop and country music. I still enjoy it.