Sunday, 25 January 2015

Life has been busy but I am continuing with Spanish lessons,  and working at learning photoshop.

Some other random things I've learned this week,

1.  Accidentally using oil paints instead of watercolour will ruin what you're working on, but luckily I don't mind throwing shit out and beginning again.

2.  If your oil is not the perfect temperature donuts burn on the outside and are goo on the inside

3. Yo-Yo Ma's Bach Cello solos are perfect writing music and if you play it loud enough and close the office door you can't hear the telephone, or doorbell so you are not interrupted - YAY.

4. When you offer to knit a few headbands and hats for your daughter to sell to raise money for a mission trip to Nicaragua you learn that she is a very good sales person and you'll end up making more than you expected - it's a good thing.   FYI headbands sell more than hats.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Sorry I haven't posted the past few days. I've been on an emotional roller coaster.

Wednesday and Thursday I was learning as per planed. Managed to get this.

I am officially entered in the Red Cross database. I think everyone should learn first aid. You only have to do what you are comfortable with.

Thursday and Friday I learned something I never wanted learn. 

We noticed blood in our dogs urine - the only real sign he was sick other than the fact that he ate his food more slowly. Labs do not eat slowly. He still ate treats and our food quickly. We took him to the vet only to find he had a large mass beside his stomach that was attacking his liver and spleen - he was anemic and his blood showed Cancer. I learned quickly Labradors do not act sick even when they are very sick. Our options were that we could bring him to Guelph and do surgery and then chemo and he may live a little bit longer (he was a 12 year old Labrador) or we could take out his spleen and he may live for three months on pain meds and we could take him home and he may live a day or two but would likely not last the weekend. 

We decided it was time to say goodbye -  even though it was harder for us to let go now and not have him a few more months it was easier on him not to have to be in pain for his last months. We took him home for the night so my oldest daughter could be with us to say goodbye the next morning. We fed him prime rib for dinner, peanut butter and chocolate cookies for dessert. We gave him lots of love (not that we didn't do this normally) - he was still peppy and active however he would stop a lot to rest so it made it harder for us because he didn't act really sick even though he was. We took pictures and let him paint - mostly on the floor. 

The girls slept beside him during the night and in the morning we brought him back to the vet to say goodbye. 

One of the hardest things a person can do is say goodbye when they know it will be forever. 

I keep waiting to hear the click click of his nails against the now painted floor and seeing his wagging tail or waiting for him to knock my feet off the chair so he could get under them. We are mourning  but we will go on remembering what a great dog he was. We will grasp the memories of our goofball Sunny tight in our minds. The paw prints he left are now sealed on the wood floor and we are going to get a 'family' tattoo with his paw, his name and his life. As that should be our family tattoo. He was one of us and will remain with us forever.

Run free my beautiful yellow dog. We will always love you.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Still learning

I am continuing to go out of my way to learn everyday even on days like today when I'm busy driving around town to appointments and such. While my daughter was in her doctors appointment I ran through some Spanish lessons. I'm learning my marks are uch lower when I have to do them on my phone or iPad where I don't bother to put in the right accent on the word. I still pass however I am quickly informed Oops you forgot the accent. I would remember the little dot if I knew where that particular letter was on my phone keyboard. Changing my phone language to Spanish would like not be an option especially when I need to flip between Spanish and texting.

The response text from my daughter would likely be WTF?

Friday, 9 January 2015

Today between writing a new picture book draft, working on my novel, scbwi emails, Tae bo and Spanish lessons I managed to try a couple of new recipes. For lunch due to a snow day my daughter was home so instead of the easy slap together pb sandwich I learned to make Paneras cauliflower/cheese soup. You can find it here:
http::// It's really easy doesn't take long and is really good. It would be fantastic with fresh breadsticks.

This evening I also tried the recipe for the ultimate chocolate chip cookies. There are a lot of places that claim to have these and really it's a personal taste thing but these were the best I've tasted in a long while.

Happy eating 😊

Thursday, 8 January 2015

A new workout

I've done all sorts of workouts before. I enjoy yoga, working out on the elliptical and in the summer riding a bike but today I tried Tae Bo. Using a video - not in a gym. I really wanted to try it before I signed up for any classes. If there are even Tae bo classes around here. I'd have to check. Either way,  I really think I'm going to like it.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Another day of writing, art and learning. Of course when I'm working on a book I'm always learning, somedays it's learning that what I wrote yesterday totally sucks. But whatever go forth and write sucky. It's much easier to fix sucky than a blank page. Today's writing was much better - I think. I suppose I will learn tomorrow if it was or not.

ART - normally I listen to music while I'm doing my art but today I thought what the heck - I'll kill two birds with one stone and listen to my spanish lessons as I paint. I learned how to say a bunch of stuff I didn't understand without reading the English translations :) but my pronunciation is dead on. And the painting turned out just fine. Part of my Hollywood Icon collection - Bette Davis.

I also managed to finish the reading corner in my office. I still need a couple of throw pillows but I also learned today that it was too cold to step outside. I needed a little shelf to hold my beverage when I read or edit (if I'm working on a draft on the iPad) so again trying to avoid frostbite I used whatever I had in the house to build one. I find the little bookshelf fitting for an author's office - how about you?

Here's a closer picture of the shelf we made above the bench Monday. We used a couple of the drawers from the old dresser that we didn't for the bench and then added another file-tower turned sideways on top of that.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Today's learning post is a little boring with no pictures sorry. I could I suppose add a picture of me reading a book on learning to build a website, or sitting at the computer during a Spanish lesson (almost wrote spinach lesson which might be fun if it was given by Popeye) but pictures of those would be kind of boring.

I suppose putting those two subjects together you might think I'm building a Spanish website - but I'm not. I need to rebuild my outdated website and I'd like to learn how to do it from scratch. If anyone has any great tips I'd love to hear them.

I'm also learning Spanish with plans to travel somewhere they speak it someday. Likely alone or with my daughters or friends as hubby refuses to get a passport. Perhaps learning to make him get a passport should be something on my 'to learn' list.

Adiós por ahora!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Spicing things up

Yesterday as my hubby cooked dinner (I am lucky enough to have a guy that cooks a lot) he was complaining that the system we had for storing our herbs and spices wasn't working anymore. There may have been some banging of jars involved in his complaining. When he found what he was looking for he proceeded to put things back the same way - really not solving the problem he was complaining about. Thus leading to another day of complaining about the same thing. This is how our spice drawer looked... which you can see is why it didn't work. There was no system.

So this morning after he went to work I decided to figure out a way to organize it. While I was drinking my morning coffee I use some scrap wood from the basement and built an in-drawer horizontal spice rack and put all the herbs and spices we use the most in the front rows.

We still had a lot of spices left over so I built an on the door rack. We will likely add another rack above this one for the remaining spices.

The learning wasn't over for the day - this afternoon I also had to figure out how to use the snowblower otherwise hubby wouldn't have been able to get into the driveway to see what I did with the spices.

Sunday, 4 January 2015


Keeping this one short because I posted yesterday's blog post today...After sanding down and adding a couple of coats of paint to my bench from yesterday, I made my learning a family project and we learned (ok Claude knew before but me, Chantale and her friend learned) how to make donuts. We made the dough, let it rise and cooked it. If you want a bread machine recipe this is a great one.

Storage Benches

 One of the things I am trying to do lately - to keep me from over working and spend more time doing other things - like spending time with the family is to turn my computer off at a certain time of day.  My computer is not portable and sitting at it means solitude. Unless I'm on a strict deadline or there's something urgent I need to take care of I do not turn the computer back on. So yesterday's post has waited until this morning. Not because I didn't make time to post but because when I tried with my iPad I couldn't add the photo.
 In the theme of organization I needed more storage room in my office as well as somewhere I could sit and read - other than my computer chair. I didn't have room for both another shelving unit and a chair so I picked up a $20 dresser at the Salvation Army and turned it into a storage bench.  I didn't know if the project would work but it was a really cheap dresser so I wasn't worried. If we ended up with a pile of wood - it still would have cost more than the $20 I paid for it.

When it started out it looked something like this (I didn't take a before picture and this is the closest I could find).

And NOW it looks like this.

It's not finished yet because I have to sand it down, paint it and add cushions but it was a good project and easy to do. I will admit my husband did the cutting. It's not that I CAN'T use a saw it's just that when he's home and  the tools are out he feels like he's the one who should use them :). They are after all HIS TOOLS. I did tell him exactly where to cut and I am the person who will sand,  paint, and distress it to look even more awesome (I hope). I wonder if he'll still take over the tools if I go out and buy some really girly tools ;).

Friday, 2 January 2015


Wow day two.

So many things I learned today without even trying as is with most days. In fact you can't NOT learn something in a day. If you spend all day in bed you will learn at least three things - the world goes on without you, it's really boring to spend all day in bed (alone anyway), AND by the end of the day you will probably hurt somewhere.

Today I did not spend all day in bed. I would have like to spend a little more time in bed however because the house was FREEZING when I woke up. Which tends to happen when your husband removes the thermostat the night before to turn the heat off instead of just turning the heat down.  This is January in ONTARIO. Brrr.

So after warming up, I started the computer and downloaded Quickbooks - granted it was just a trial but I wanted to learn to use it. I will end up buying it when the trial is over because after learning the basics I realized it will make my bookkeeping so much easier.  If you don't know Quickbooks you can find it here -

This is the Canadian version - Make sure if you are Canadian you download this version of the software because you can't fill out your info if you download the American version - something I also learned today ;)

Of course if you are American you'll want to check out this version

There's likely still a lot more to learn about the program but there are a lot of tutorials on how to use it. I would have spent more time on it today however I had an appointment I had to make.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015 wow.  Happy New year.

I'm resurrecting my old blog because this year I decided it would be a year of learning for me. Learning something new everyday might sound exhausting to some, but it is not really that difficult. We all do it - we just don't acknowledge it and life is all about learning. If you stop learning life would get really boring because there are always great things to learn.

One of the obvious things for me to learn this year is to learn how to blog regularly.  I may a writer/illustrator by trade but as you can see by the last blog I am NOT a regular blogger and I don't think there's Metamucil type drink for blogging.  If you know of one, please let me tell me. Drinking a glass of something would be so much easier than learning how to schedule my time better... right another thing to learn this year - time management.
So now Blogging and Time management are on the list - kind of boring but it all starts with organizing my days.  Which leads to:


 I actually started this at the beginning of the week (not today) by getting rid of a bunch of stuff cluttering my office. My work space is now CLEAN and ORGANIZED. When you do as much stuff as I do having your work space organized helps you get things done a lot quicker.

I have room to move - breathe and build stuff like today's learning project. A bit of scrap wood, some paint, stain and screws and I learned to make a new paint brush caddy.