If I must choose, I choose OIL

Zsolt said to me the other day, I’m haven’t checked your blog in a while – which made me go, eep… I haven’t written in a while. The last post wasn’t exactly uplifting, so what I am going to write here is a very brief summary of things. Stories may come from these, but at the moment they are all just things.

September is the month of scans. As the chemo continues every three weeks, it is now time to see if it is actually working. Fingers crossed. After a summer of blissful ignorance, it will soon be back into the consultation to receive results. Oh do I hate these moments.

The Ottawa International Writers Festival is kicking back up. This is great news because of the great conversations that take place. This year I’m hoping to catch Margaret Atwoood on The Tempest, Madeline Thein and other panel members on The Ever Present Past, and perhaps I’ll go to Charlotte Gray’s The Promise of Canada. And of course, I’ll be bringing along my microphone to see what others think of the show. These event fit somewhat well around my chemo schedule – those Atwood and Thein are only shortly after treatment, and I’m quietly slightly a bit worried that I’ll have to skip them.

OH I started an art class. We have a choice in the class: paint with acrylics or paint with oils. There is no switching mid-course. My brother and I visited the art store together, and noticed that oil paint is WAY more expensive than acrylic paint. Therefore, at the class I decided to paint with acrylics. UNTIL I went down into the gallery at the school. All my favourite pieces were painted in Oil. AND I have always wanted to paint with oils. The medium intimidates the HECK out of me, for some reason. But you know what? It’s time to stop being afraid of failure. And it’s time to see past the price difference and decide what will bring joy. My gut says oil.

By the by, our art teacher is charming. However, she has this need for things to be captured properly proportion-wise.  In terms of details, I am not meticulous. Details are so boring. If I draw a terrible milk jug, it is highly like that I don’t care two bits about that milk jug and would rather focus on the tea cup. Like writing, when drawing, I edit out all the boring bits and prefer to just focus on my focus. It’s the portraits of Manet that struck me long ago with this approach – focus on the focus, and give little detail elsewhere. Art school rebel = ME! Let’s see how that turns out, eh? (Though I do agree that contrast and tone are essential)

One more thing about that. The class is in the middle of the day, middle of the week and it’s all younger women. What the what? Seriously, I anticipated being the youngest in the room. Rather, I’m one of the oldest. This makes me feel wise with my years.


Work – I am working part-time. YES. It is going very well. And speaking of work – disability. What the heck is it? How does it work? Am I eligible? My oncologist wrote me a letter explaining to Service Canada why I am not able to work full time anymore, and how I will likely never be able to do so again. It was one GRIM letter. No sugar coating the impact of stage four cancer in that letter. I should never have read it, but he did the right thing in writing so openly about everything. But seriously, I never, ever, ever should have read it.

Heck yes, I’m using oil paints. Life is to be lived.

Books! Well, apart from the Amnesty International Book Club (facebook link!) which sparks some pretty fascinating conversations, I am just about to finish All the Light We Cannot See, which I picked up upon recommendation from a friend. It is fantastic. Gripping, beautiful, immersive, and so excellent story telling. It takes you through some hard things, but keeps you flying as you pass. This novel is worth reading. Go to your bookstores or libraries, read, savor . . .

And speaking of books to read, my friend Don Kerr who I met through facingcancer.ca, is in the process of kickstarting his account what it’s like to support someone diagnosed with cancer. About five years ago, his wife Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. Don began to blog at facing cancer about his feelings, and how he found his way in supporting his wife. He is open and honest – and maybe, probably, other care-sharers/givers would benefit from such a book. Or for those trying to understand their partners as they support them, to read someone’s perspective.

Here is the link. Visit and consider buying a copy to support Don’s great initiative.

And seriously that is all. Life is thankfully busy at the moment, and alternates between good days and harder days. I do not feel like being specific, because I am so tired at the moment, and therefore, this blog post is done.

Like a pancake.

Hmm, I miss eating pancakes.