Category Archives: Canada

Bought a new DYMO postal scale yesterday

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After being in business online for over seven years I’ve finally purchased my own nifty usb powered 10lb cpacity postal scale from Staples. I’ll now be able to weigh your orders properly and not undercut myself nor overcharge you on postage ever again. And seeing as Canada Post has increased rates by 35% on some services a few weeks ago I can not afford not to weigh any longer. The time is come. The time is now, said Marvin K. Mooney.

Etsy has also built in a few shipping features and I will be able to print off shipping labels directly from Etsy for some orders from both my art shop and vintage shop. I’m not sure why they haven’t built in lettermail or small packet shipping and only offer Xpresspost and Expedited. In any respect, this is most welcome though.

I’ve been busy cutting 5×7 inch prints too in preparation for a couple of upcoming local Spring Shows. You can see George in the picture background.

I wish I could do more about the stench of crude oil but it may take the efforts of the next generation

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As I laid awake again for another night of clanks, bangs and grinding steel, metal and horns I wondered when it would happen. I wondered when the explosion would occur and I would be running beside Chris carrying Willow amidst an inferno so grotesque that there’d be no use of even trying as we wouldn’t survive the explosions to begin with. We’d likely be incinerated and scientists would be identifying us through use of dental records.

I spoke with Chris about my fears this morning. He carries the same ones. We live somewhere where the trains carrying toxic crude oil and natural gas outnumber humans five to one. And we live 500 meters from the end of the line where all the tanks are unloaded of their black liquid gold which is then pumped to the Irving Oil Refinery a few kilometres away for refining.

Neither one of us would have purchased homes back in the old neighbourhood that we grew up in had we known there were going to be HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of freight trains unloading there oil in our backyard for Irving to refine.

The stench is more than we can bare at times. It permeates our home and makes it impossible to breath outside or open your windows when the wind is calm and humidity high. Old women and children plug their noses on public transit buses as they near the intersection of Bayside Drive and the Courtenay Bay Causeway and it sickens me that I need to pull the buzzer and step off in the thick of it. The smell has been so bad on occasion that I thought there was an oil leak in my home. I have dashed down and into the basement to check the tank for cracks on more than one occasion. How ironic that my home is heated with oil and that it is some of the most expensive oil to buy in Canada even though it is refined right here in my backyard.

I feel angry and cheated out of the peace and quiet that used to pervade this neighbourhood. The noise pollution level has risen to the point that we rarely sleep through the night anymore. And what is this doing to our six month old daughter.

I’d like the end of the line to be moved or for Irving to buy my home and my boyfriends home so we can relocate at a minimum 2KM away from the end of the line if it’s to be here permanently. I’d like the refinery shut down and converted to windmills but that’s akin to wishing the Pacific ocean clean of plastic debris. These things will not happen in my lifetime.

There are people who tell me to shut up and not say anything because if I want to sell my house I better be quiet about it. WHY be quiet about it… This is everywhere. You.can.not.escape.it. This industry dominates the skyline of of the City of Saint John.

I tire of living in fear, on a constant alert that an all out oil apocalypse is going to happen and no amount of new overpasses and evacuation routes will save my family and I, living here, at the end of the line.

If the Plutocracy can spend billions on retrofitting DOT-111 tanks they can certainly move the end of the line to the refinery or purchase the neighborhood so we can all move. We were duped into thinking a park would be where the terminal is.

They say things happen in three’s. Lac Magentic, Plasterock… The end of the line?

Photo Credit – (Selfie) My daughter Willow and

10 Nifty Employment Facts About Me and about using WaveApps Accounting Software

calculator, ink drawing, fabriano quadrato artist journal

So, I’m still working on paperwork for the 2012 year. Holy Cow.

I began using WaveApps earlier in January as doing “it” by hand was just not cutting it any longer. What a marvelous piece of cloud based accounting software. As long as you understand basic bookkeeping you can use Wave Accounting software. The nice thing about Wave is it’s made in Canada and therefore has everything a Canadian small business or self employed person needs.

Anyhow,

  1. I have been working in some form or other since about the age of 12.
  2. And I’ve been self employed for 95% to 100% of that time.
  3. The longest full-time job that I held lasted for 14 months.
  4. I’ve only had THREE full-time jobs in my life. I quit two and was laid off of the the other.
  5. Since quitting drugs seven years ago then smoking 16 months ago and finally drinking 14 months ago my life, career and creativity have stabilized… if that makes sense?
  6. I’ve held numerous part-time jobs over the years to get me out of the studio so to speak… stock-person, picture framer, sales clerk, children’s art instructor, gallery manager, inventory clerk, bathroom cleaner, newspaper girl, sign painter, room rental landlord etc.
  7. I’m healthier, happier and more driven when fending for myself to earn money.
  8. I’ve never been able to qualify for either life or personal health insurance and that has made me very sad at times but uber-driven to live a healthy lifestyle. And none of the three full-time jobs I had offered group insurance.
  9. I am 39 years old.
  10. Nifty fact… As a full-time self-employed artist living in Canada I can legally claim all clothing purchased that I wear to public art shows on my income tax as an expense against my gross income.

I also read this article on home offices on CBC today and found it rather interesting. All I can say is dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

The drawing above is called PaperWork is for the Birds.

Walking the railway… down by the bay

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Before the rains came over this last week and began turning most everything green we set out in the mid-evening crossing Bayside Drive and entered into the mouth of the Marsh Creek area where it meets the Bay of Fundy on foot along the railway tracks. We walked along and then down to the shore on the North side of the Courtenay Bay Causeway during low-tide.

A herd of deer that live down here, however, all we caught were their white bums skipping away from us as we approached them. They moved away too fast for me to capture them on film.

There is a copious amount of plastic debris washing up on the shore from the ocean… including the little pink pig, syringes, plastic bags, bottles and thousands upon thousands of tampon applicators. Use a menstral cup already women.

Before the Courtenay Bay Causeway was built this area was home to the largest shipbuilding operation in Eastern Canada and remnants of that bygone era remain here to this day. This area was a tidal ocean front beach where even my Dad used to play when he was a kid.

Even with the plastics dotting the grassy marsh it’s still pristine and relatively untouched by human hands.

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When you look West you can see the beginning of Uptown Saint John (Central City) and the South End Peninsula.

During the next few years an amazing restoration will be taking place… The Marsh Creek area is being restored, cleaned up and made fit for human consumption again. Bike and walking trails with elevated decks and lookouts will be added.

Many different species of birds and wildlife call this area home including this decapitated seagull.

At sunset we began making our way back East.

And at dusk we walked back into the hood.

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Walking on the East Side of Saint John, NB in Early Springtime

Growing up, we all walked everywhere, biked or rode the bus to get from point A to B. We were all in shape.

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Recently, I’ve begun walking and hiking through the back fields, railroad tracks and forgotten lands, that I used to travel through when young, with a wonderful person who enjoys walking them as much as I do.

fog rolling in

These are some photo’s from our latest trek. You can see the largest oil refinery in Canada in the distance while the fog rolls in from the Courtenay Bay.

If you are unfamiliar with the Courtenay Bay Area of East Saint John, it is home to homes that were built shortly after WWI and WWII. This place is nestled in between a few major thoroughfares, is located on the best bus route in the city and is genrally a very safe area to live in for both young and old alike.

100 years of smashed liquor bottles

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This area is five minutes by bus or car to Uptown or 25 minutes walking. It is surrounded by industry, sea water, fields and rolling hills.

irving oil trains east saint john

Anyhow, I love this area… even when the fog rolls in and blankets out the sun and you can’t see across the street anymore.

All Original Illustrations are 50% Off in my art shop right now. Prices are already reduced in the originals section. Decorate your home with one-of-a-kind whimsical art today!

My 2011 Sea Life calendar is featured in the radical makeover of Dr. Walsh’s Office

It is with great pleasure that I share this feature with you. An acquaintance of mine, Judy Farquharson emailed it to me today and then Judith Mackin, uber-talented local, Saint John Interior Designer let me know about it too.

My 2011 Sea Life Wall Calendar is featured in the makeover of Psychologist Dr. Jane Walsh’s Office. How exciting!

You can read all about the design makeover and see the before and stunning after pictures on Judith’s fabulous blog.

Thank you Judith and Judy.

Photo credits go to Hemmings House Pictures.

And if you are looking for the 2012 Creatures of Whimsy Calendars they are listed on Etsy and in digital fine art download format on HandmadeCloud.

Finding passion without becoming addicted or why six years on it’s not any easier

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I wrote this blog post earlier this year in May but hadn’t published it. This seems to be a common occurrence as I write a lot but don’t publish them. And with 95 blog post drafts sitting anxiously I thought well, now is the time to edit and publish. Anyhow, I recently celebrated six years sobriety of off hard drugs on August 26th so while perusing the drafts I re-read this one and thought it appropriate to share with you.

For the last six years I’ve been searching for something that doesn’t exist. A something that perhaps exists in everyday life but doesn’t exist in the nether regions of one’s psyche. One can never return to the past nor can they return to the future.

While I may think of chemical drugs almost everyday I know that if I consume them it would spell the death of me as I’d fall so far down the rabbit hole that I would not return as the drug means more to me than life itself and more than everyone and everything else in this world. I knew this, and understood this, when cleaning up from addiction in 2005.

And I miss the freedom of living in a larger urban center and of being free to not wear a bra and being free to not look like the rest of the population surrounding me. While it seems tuff at times to live in a small town… yes, Saint John is a small town even though it is officially declared a city… it is still a small town by modern standards; and a very conservative small town at that. And to see fashions that were in style in Vancouver in 2007 rearing there head here right now is mind boggling as it’s nuts to think that it takes four to five years for fashions to make their way from West to East.

I was talking with my cousin a few days ago who is four years older than I. We are both relatively single and do not have children. We are also both self employed and creative although her creativity is a hobby while mine is my main source of income.

I can remember at age 12 or 13 visiting with her and her showing me the many drawings that she drew and being inspired by them. I don’t know if you know that Rochelle. But I’ll never forget the amazing ink drawings you rendered as a teenager and how you told me to keep drawing even when I didn’t feel like it while we stood in your bedroom. I’m fortunate to have had people in my life who inspired me creatively at a very early and tender age.

As I near middle age now, I wonder if this is how it’s supposed to be. While I don’t enjoy being single, I do long for savageness and wild abandon. I miss it to be honest. I feel repressed here in Saint John and while I have sex on very rare occasions, I do miss the damn connection that comes when you finally meet the right person. I’m sick and tired of dating. And this isn’t to say that I’m looking to lay just anybody. I’m not addicted to sex but I am human and I hunger for physical contact but MUCH more than that I want a life long commitment with someone.

I may never have children and that is not okay. So six years on it’s not any easier. And that is the truth people about addiction. It never goes away, but you can use it to your advantage and work with it, molding it into inspiration to continue living and striving for the life you want.

Handmade by me 2012 Desk and Wall Calendars are listed and ready to ship in the art shop now. Pictured above are the 12 months from the desk calendar.

LittleStar Boutique is Fabulous!

CEO of LittleStar Boutique

I’d like to formally welcome LittleStar Boutique to the blog as this blog’s first sponsor. LittleStar was founded by Monica Danielski (CEO), in Douglas, New Brunswick which is about one and half hours North from where I live in Saint John. Continue reading