Friday, September 30, 2011

friday forte: feed back

owch walk part 2, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Yesterday I got some feedback on an essay assignment (which I might just share with you next week as I think it's pretty darned good!) for the writing diploma I'm undertaking (part time). I was expecting to see lots of red pen, circles, deletions and so on, but instead my instructor, who is also the program coordinator, asked me what kind of feedback I would like her to give when she marks my work.
It's a good question. What kind of feedback, guidance do I want for my writing? Do I want to be told it is a good effort, that it reads well? Do I want my grammar howlers pointed out? Do I need praise for content and constructive criticism for composition?
I honestly didn't know. The question itself made me think, what am I really wanting to get from this course? I think what I need to know is that I am on the right course fo a start. That I'm headed in the right direction and not wasting my time. I need encouragement to take the next step and just get on with it all. I need to know how I can improve, where I need to put in the work, and where I can afford to just let it flow.
Right now, apart from The Time Crunch Before Christmas I'm feeling quite relaxed about what I'm doing. It's quite a difference from even a few months ago. I know what I can do, where I want to go, and almost how I want to get there. What I don't know is, what's stopping me. I'm hoping that some good constructive feedback will help.
So I tried to get all of that into words.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

self portrait thursday: ready for my close up


This evening I was at a momcafe networking event on PR, organised by the amazing Julie of @momcafetricity and delivered enthusiastically by Almira (? Not sure if my notes were v accurate - wahey the vino) of Jive PR (sorry, no hyperlinks as I'm posting from the phone). As usual, my elevator speech of introduction was a mish mash of mixed media artist, writing student, and not quite sure what I plan to do, in the midst of some superbly confident deliveries from the other women attending.
But this evening I felt even more OK about it than usual. So what? I don't have a hugely productive business but I do enjoy creating the art that I do. It is very much a niche market but I'm proud to see it as wearable art. Likewise with the writing - I know I can write and each week I step a little closer to knowing what direction I want to take it in so that it will work for me and for my family. There's no rush.
I think I'm almost ready for my close up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

wordless wednesday: late night batch


Late night batch of blueberry muffins for tomorrow's bake sale (they taste mmmmmmm).

gearing up

gearing up:


You know what this means, don't you?
A lttle hint - it's my studio desk. Covered in wire and beads and so on.
Yes, it's getting close to christmas :) and these are my current WIPs, also known as works in progress. Sometimes, at the start of a creative busy period (as this is going to be - check out the Events tab above, four craft fairs!) It's good planning to have some projects on the go to lead you in to being productive once more.
And oh boy, do I have to be productive!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

thanks for the weekend

I owe a huge thank you for my weekend.
Let me explain, weekend is often work for me, either teaching, craft fairs, homework or some kind of combination of the three. This last weekend was no different, except that work took place right in my back yard (so zero commute, yippee). On Saturday I took part in Port Moody's Festival of the Arts Art For Youth day at the skate park, where I gave millions (ok, slight overexaggeration but it was busy) of kids a taste of wire hammering. Then on Sunday I was part of the Blackberry Artist's Society artisan team, being the artist in the tent at Art 4U Day (a very wet hour under the tent).

Many thanks firstly to Kelsey who got me involed in the youth event and found the most awesome bunch of enthusiastic volunteers ever (you guys really rocked, if 46y old me can say that without sounding totally lame).
Thanks also to the other artists huddling under the tent - you made a wet afternoon pass more. Pleasantly than it should have (and you sold some of my stuff too!).
A big thanks to all the lovely peeps who visited me under my various tent abodes, especially the parents who bravely supervised their small kids wielding hammers.
A huge thanks to mr ebb who, as usual, took on a weekend of childwrangling with style (and cooked dinner each night). Very difficult without you, sweetie xoxo
And finally, gratitude to Will Stroet whose concert made the Wee Guy's day with all that singing and dancing :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

midlife monday: it's not me, it's my equipment

I'm sure I had an ultra witty post for today's midlife monday but it got bogged down on the treacle that is my current computer's fastest processing speed. It's taken a reading diary assignment for college to show me quite bluntly that it's not me, it's my equipment which is going slow. I may be a woman in my prime but I'm being held back creatively by a computer lurching gamely towards its twilight years.
Oh, and it has short term memory problems too. Ask it to perform too many tasks and it goes into a panicked tailspin, taking my data with it.
Or it swallows chunks of text.
Or it takes so long to string two letters together on screen that I end up losing the plot. While I wait for the CPU to catch up with my requirements I fiddle around with easy offline tasks, but my train of thought is well and truly wrecked. And swapping to the laptop isn't much better - checking one email can take as long as 10 minutes, and please don't even contemplate a reply.
Seriously though, laughable as it may be, I am wasting a lot of time coping with my equipment. At a time in my life when my own CPU may start to decline/develop idiosyncracies, I need all the processing help I can muster. Time to check the piggy bank, time for another trip to Dell.

PS: Contributions gratefully received - I've just updated my list of craft fairs for christmas hint hint ;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

friday forte:me myself i

The latest crop

I've deliberately not posted much these last two weeks. Although I was so excited about coming home, the actual reality of eight weeks away was being very much behind, out of the loop and playing catch up every waking hour. The first week was not good; I could feel the familiar churnings of being overwhelmed starting up. Not fun.
So what did Amanda do next? Ok - I did curl up briefly into a tight ball, willing the world to stop. But that didn't work :( After a week of waking up in a cold sweat at 5am I gave myself a stern talking to and followed Dale Carnegie's advice to identify what the problem was. And the problem was time, an underabundance of the stuff. A quick check with a day timer, my calendar and I knew that it was possible to fit in housework, homework from four college courses, childcare, Christmas prep for craft fairs, domestic stuff, college itself, and my volunteer roles ... but it wasn't going to be pleasant. The payback from squeezing everything into the time available is squeezing out regular exercise and keeping in touch with friends - all things a midlife woman should keep in her life as much as possible.

But how to make time? What could I possibly cut out to ease the flow? And it was a college course. Withdrawing from one course opened up three hours of class time, one hour of commuting and who knows how much study/homework. I withdrew. It was not easy. Apart from a couple of toxic boyfriends and a heartbreakingly inappropriate rescue dog, I have never given up on anything in my life. I stick to my task. I persevere. I do not give up, possibly to my detriment but I keep hammering away at the problem.
So I withdrew, and immediately felt a sense of calm. I stopped waking up in a panic and started making progress on the tasks I still had on my list. Strangely enough, once I had cut down on what I had to do I began to get more done.

Maybe that's what growing up means - releasing the load to achieve more.

friday forte: me myself i

I've deliberately not posted much these last two weeks. Although I was so excited about coming home, the actual reality of eight weeks away was being very much behind, out of the loop and playing cat...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

self portrait thursday: feet back on the floor

Week two back in the saddle, still solo parenting after an enjoyable weekend with mr ebb home, but with my feet back in contact with the ground once more. At least, I think that's where they are.
This week I'm realising the value of friends and how much I missed them while away and how much I do need to stay in touch with them now that I'm back.
Finished off today at a friend's house - home cooked chilli with cornbread, a gorgeous baby, plus a playmate for the Wee Guy. Can't think of a better way to end the day :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

wordless wednesday: what a (networking) view

The inspiring view from the window next to me at the Boathouse during this morning's momcafe event, Pretirement Living.
The Wee Guy and I did our own bit of pretirement living during the summer ... and we want to do more.

Monday, September 19, 2011

midlife monday: strange muttering woman on bike

(time to resurrect that old chestnut)

I'm still here. Life has not got any slower since my last anguished post about stopping the world, indeed it got briefly faster today on a downhill stretch of the Barnet Highway. Thanks to mr ebb for capturing a moment from that voyage (and for being an extremely patient bike coach).

Since my last post, I've gotten a grip on life once more and feel Much More Positive. I've withdrawn from one college course and opened up my time a bit more. Hopefully strange muttering woman will be confined to her bicycle and not get in the way of everyday matters. Maybe growing older means learning to let go? Life leading up to Christmas is always busy for pomo mama design (remember? the jewelry business this old bat runs on the side in an effort to stay sane?) so the next few months will be a wild ride. Stay on board or hop off at the next stop. Your choice.

Oh, and we're getting a hamster soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

self portrait Thursday 15th September: stop the world

This is how I feel right now. I'm running so fast but still not getting anywhere ... and I've only been back a week.

And it's been a hopelessly packed full week too: college, back to school for the Wee Guy, mr ebb traveling, eight weeks plus of housework in waiting, broken stuff just waiting to be repaired, tidying up and storage issues, crusty old pools of dried cat vomit dotted around the house, appointments, deadlines, playdates to organise, crapped out compromised bank account meaning my debit/ATM card is FUBAR, ... and so on.

Right now I'm feeling the familiar wheels of being totally overwhelmed churning in my mind at 5am every morning. I know I can do everything ... somehow I'll find or make the time, though I hate the constant prioritising that goes with it.

But right now I'd just like the world to stop for a while so I can catch up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

wordless wednesday: a new do


New do courtesy of Jen at Volution Salon in Kits (

Monday, September 12, 2011

on show

on show:
I have a couple of pieces of work on show at the current Place des Arts teachers and staff exhibition. Please do visit to see what my colleagues and I have been creatively up to for the past year :)

detail from beach ACEO

Sunday, September 11, 2011

where were you? where are you now?

11 mar 05
I'm not going to claim any sort of deep personal involvement with the events of ten years ago; no one close to me was killed and I suffered no loss. There is no one whose presence I miss, who was suddenly taken from my life or who was damaged by the carnage unleashed. 
But my life did change.

still lifeWhenever my husband is flying (as he is this evening), my cell phone is on and by my side just in case he needs to call. He should have been in the air that day 10 years ago but by some zany quirk of fate his waiver got screwed up the day before and his flight on 9/11 was on Pacific time thus never getting airborne. We had only just emigrated to Canada, being only 10 days in the country, when I spent the day glued to the tv watching for survivors, begging my husband to just come back to our rental apartment to be near me and away from the highrises in downtown Vancouver. I sat on the rental couch hugging my cat who had arrived from the UK days earlier, and missing my dog who was, by all accounts, seriously ill from some mystery skin complaint treatment back in London (he eventually joined us mid October when the planes started flying again).

aboard the tram
I felt far away from family, far away from friends, and far away from my old life's priorities.
Two months later I wrote to my mentors and sponsors, thanking them for their support but I was abandoning my research grant and studentship proposals. Four months after that I was pregnant; a year and eight months after arriving in BC, my son was born.
Yes, my life did change.... and this bit does what?

Friday, September 09, 2011

friday forte: jet lagged oh my

a high protein meal is advised to counteract jet lag

Back in the land of the living. I thought we were doing pretty well so far. The Wee Guy and I both slept right thru the night till 7am, then he went off to school and I completed an order for wire beads (
So far so good.
Then I waded thru my inbox, mailed the order, drove to the bank and tried to sort out my side of our account suspension (it happened on our first day in Paris), picked up my new college ID (nice shiny face but an improvement on last year's) and UPass, then even had enough energy to call in at the Blackberry gift shop in Port Moody Arts Centre to photograph the featured artist display (you should go there). Picked up Wee Guy from school ... and this is where the jetlag struck. He was too tired to play in the park, and I collapsed on the sofa with annoyingly restless legs.
At times like this there's nothing you can do except go out for sushi :)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

having your cake

Eventually the era of having your cake and eating it must come to end.
Ours has. Tonight we're tucking up in our own beds, back in the New World that is our home. Sad that our travels are over but really pleased to catch some late summer weather back in BC.
We're home after almost eight weeks on vacation, back to school, housework, work and so on. I fixed a tap this evening and have stacked up the laundry for tomorrow. We'll have Salade nicoise for dinner tomorrow. We might even aim for school if the jet lag isn't too bad.
Back to life (back to reality).

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I amsterdam

i amsterdam, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.
Today the sun was out and our walk around Amsterdam was a deal less soggy than yesterday's. Yesterday's weather would indeed have been much more appropriate for today's wanderings as heavy rain can seem also like tears. Our route this morning took us close to the Dutch Resistance Museum in Plantage and past the Hollandsche Schouwburg, where jewish people were marshalled together prior to transport to the concentration camps during the second world war.


We passed another memorial, I'm not sure what it was but it was dated 1940-1945.
additional info: the monument is in memory of Dutch artist Gerrit van der Veen who was active in the Resistance to nazi occupation in Amsterdam

in remembrance

Our route also took us past the Homomonument, where three pink triangles sit to remind us of current and past persecution of individuals because of their sexuality.

Anne Frank Huis

Our final visit today was to the Anne Frank Huis on Prinzergracht. The Wee Guy followed the trail on the treasure hunt around the claustrophobic rooms while I was reminded of reading the diary at a young age and being so inspired to write a journal myself. I can't really write anything more about the visit save to say that I hugged the Wee Guy very tightly when we emerged back into the sunlight.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


From Evernote:


Spent most of today wandering blissfully around the Van Gogh museum. Oh what heaven!
The main permanent exhibitions are arranged chronologically so it's possible to follow the artist's progression as he experimented with different techniques and ideas. Sadly, it's also a diary of his decline in the last two years of his life, culminating with his suicide in 1890.
Historians believe he suffered greatly with epilepsy during this time. To make matters worse he also felt that his artistic ability was slipping away. How unfair.
I fell in love with his bold colourful Parisian paintings and was completely captivated by the warmth and immediacy of the Arles work. Although the museum was busy with some of the most impolite gallery visitors I have ever encountered (wandering right in front to obscure the paintings, standing with backs to the works while listening to the audio tour thus spoiling the view for everyone else) it was a complete treat to get up close enough to appreciate each brushstroke. One thing which occurred to me when looking at the more vibrant colourful pieces was how migrainous and jazzy the effect is; those of you who suffer from visual migraines might know what I mean. Coincidentally, it's Migraine Awareness Week in the UK right now!
And even more of a treat was the Wee Guy's very obvious enthusiasm for the whole visit, drawing admiring glances and comments from visitors.
We both appreciated the cafe :)



Monday, September 05, 2011

Moving on

Our itchy feet have triumphed once more and we've taken to the air in search of new holiday experiences. We're in transit, leaving my parents' home in Scotland :( for a brief stopover in Amsterdam before heading back home to BC. So these few days are all that is left of our summer holiday - the Wee Guy and I are both playing hookey from school.

Yesterday evening, after a mildly chaotic Connexxions shuttle ride from the airport (mistaken identity hotels, driving in the tram tracks, reading at the wheel while in motion!) we managed a speed walk around the zoo before dinner, then found out just how walkable Amsterdam is by almost ending up in the Red Light district! Oops.

Back to the hotel for some skyping, route planning and zzzz's. Sweet dreams :)

in the interim

Artis Zoo
bird boy

Well ... there is a post winging its way to the blog thru the murky ether of the internet via my smartphone and its temperamental attitude to uploading posterous posts via email.
So in the meantime I thought you might like to know we went to the zoo this afternoon (any guesses where?)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

life's a beach

at Black Sands beach, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.
Making the most of the sun, the sea and the sand this afternoon.
Tomorrow? we're moving on :(

Saturday, September 03, 2011

school supplies - for hitting children

translation: strap = belt or leather tawse, used as a disciplinary tool in scottish schools

note the date

Friday, September 02, 2011


in motion, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.
Occasionally I am very pleased with the way a photograph comes out.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

visit to Culross

visit to Culross, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Today mum took me and the Wee Guy to visit Culross. It's a National Trust village where the buildings have been restored and conserved as per the style of their heyday i.e. Scotland in the 1600's. It's a beautiful place and one that we've been visiting as a family since I was a little girl.
On this visit the Wee Guy played photographer (and learned how to take macro pics too) :)

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

visit to Culross

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