February 29, 2012

Rain Dance

This past weekend we drove over to Seattle to compare the quality of their rain to ours.  Just to see if it had the same dampness and coldness of Vancouver rain and to determine how fast, in relation to local standards, I could get my umbrella dripping soaking wet by just walking around.  Ok that wasn't really the purpose of the trip but it might as well have been because it sure rained over there.  Almost as much as it did when we were there two years ago in April.  I know my memory is embellishing things a bit but I have this image of trogging through the streets, ankle-deep in water on at least one of the nights we were there that time. 

So rain seems to be a recurring theme on our Seattle visits of late and, confronted by such abundant rain, I have to ask myself: was the Seattle romanticized in the old TV show Here Come the Brides some other place?  I mean, c'mon:
The bluest sky you've ever seen, in Seattle,
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle...
Blue sky? Green hills?  Or maybe we just need to time our visit for later in the year.  Like June or July.

Nonetheless, I really like Seattle rain or no and it was a very fine trip.  We ate at an authentic and colourful Mexican restaurant, drank Prickly Pear martinis (or at least I did), and took a long and energetic walk along the water as the wind and numerous joggers whipped past us. And, in an old-style theatre with red plush reclining seats, we saw, for the second time, Pina.  What a mesmerizing, amazing, and inspiring film! I don't dance...really dance...enough.  I have to work on that for sure.  
Anyway.  It was good to get away and not think about all the stuff going on here, if only for a breath.  I don't really want to get into all the details of my dad's health issues so suffice it to say they're prostate related, there is still some cause for concern, but the tests were inconclusive and not even the doctor seems to know how serious things might be.  As he so colourfully put it:  the horse has left the yard and it's not sure if he's gone into the neighbour's field yet but we're going to try and keep the gates shut.  Meaning: my dad'll be going for hormone injections while we play the waiting game to see if that'll bring his PSA counts down.  Fortunately, his memory is so bad these days he's forgotten the doctor's visits, the tests, and all the other stuff and seems to be his normal generally happy self.  And that in itself is a good thing given that "happy" was not one of the words to immediately jump to mind in connection with my dad in the past.  So, he's happy happy and my mother, albeit living life on another planet, is always happy too.  Life goes on, one day at a time.

I finally finished the last print too, and have begun sketching out my next one although at this point it's anyone's guess when I'll actually get around to printing.  The next couple of weeks are promising to be full of tedious obligations.

For now, here's the finished print:

Four little beetles
Dark as molasses,
Wind their way
Through tall green grasses 
  (Print 4, Nursery Series - Reduction Linocut - 7.5 x 9 inches)

February 09, 2012

Relearning To Juggle

It's been a week of doctor's and hospital lab visits as I took both my parents to and from a number of tests and appointments.  Roland and I juggled things between us a bit and that helped but I suddenly got a flashback to when Nora was small and we were juggling our working time around caring for her.  Funny how it goes.  And it's always these trips to the doctors that make me realize how vulnerable my parents have become.  How much they rely on us to look out for them.  It's heart-rending though we're definitely far from alone in this; whenever I take my parents for any medical appointments I find myself in waiting rooms with other parent/children couples, all in roughly the same age group as we are and all with the same lines in their faces, worry and exasperation both, as my own.

There was also some not so good news concerning my dad so, while we wait for test results, I'm trying keep the door shut against worst case scenarios...one day at a time as Roland says...and am trying to put my mind elsewhere.  I've recently finished reading Rewire Your Brain and, while parts of it were a bit too too medical-technical for me, there were some things I took away with me and am trying to put into practice.  One of these is that work, or activity, is one of the best ways to chase away the blues (I'm paraphrasing here) and that sounds pretty logical to me.  

So I tried to stay busy and managed to get in two printing sessions over the last week and added the next three colours to the current nursery rhyme print.  First, there was this green:

I spent some time shaping a nice mask for the area with the beetles only to find I didn't even need it and just had to be careful with my inking.

And then I added a lighter green and the next colour for the beetle body, both at the same time:

Now, one colour left to go, it looks like this:

As always, being I'm so close to the end, I guess I'd better start making some decisions on what my next print will be...