Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Crazy Winter Boot Chase - AGAIN

Last January, my youngest son went winter camping with his school.  It was a fun idea.  Be a real Canadian and all that rot.  The reality was, I couldn't do what I had been doing and send him up into the Canadian bush in January in the lined "rain" boots he had been wearing.

Mission, Find winter boots in January in Canada.  Bonne Chance.

Did I mention my son is part Neanderthal and has feet like Fred Flinstone that are thick and square.

Went everywhere I could think.  I bought a couple of pairs from Crappy Tire.  Didn't fit.  Out of sheer despiration, I bought these from Lands End in black.  He loved them.  Score....or so I thought.

He wore these from the end of January last year until mid March.  Then two days this week.  So all told, about 8 weeks.

The gum bits on the bottom that looked like this when they were new

now look like this

The gum rubber part is flaking off and has worn a ridiculous amount.  Yup that is a hole worn right through his boots he wore for 8 weeks.

Lands End has a good return policy and I can return these BUT its going to cost me $9 in shipping to send them back.  I also paid over $22 in duty and taxes which they won't refund me.  The thing that really annoys me is they still fit him fine.  Grrr.  Three kids and we have never worn out a pair of boots - EVER.  They have always been grown out of before they wear out.  So I bother spending the $9 to send them back?  That is the question.

I've spent this evening trying to find boots that are Made in Canada on-line in his size which of course, knowing me, lead me down google's memory lane.

If you grew up in Toronto in the 70's you had limited choices which included these (brown like these for boys, white like I had for girls)

These - how retro cool

or if you were REALLY lucky these

Friday, November 21, 2014

Industrial Style TV storage ideas

google maps

Before I was born, in a land far far away.... never mind, it was Scarborough, my mother worked for close to 20 years for the Canadian division of Eddison Electric in their industrial lighting department.  Boring job right?  Not a chance.  She always referred to her office as "the Mad House". I never thought much about it as a kid.  When she took me to visit, I was fascinated with the plant and all the industrial equipment and the red telephones phones they all had on their desks.

The reality is my mother could easily been a cold war spy.  She knew the ins and outs of all the electrical design and production of the funky stuff they build like street lights

 and air raid sirens like this!

They had an eccentric boss who did stuff like release an annual Christmas album.

But I digress.  They also had a really funky 1940's logo.

Where is she going with this you ask?

We really need a better place for out TV.  I'm having building fantasies again.  I know, I know, its about to snow and I'm thinking of spending some quality time in the unheated garage.  I'm crazy.

Well, I have this vision you see, of building a vintage style table cart thingy for the TV and stenciling on that 1940's logo on the front.  Some combo of this

and this

and this$_59.JPG

Some combo like this that I could slap a logo on and feel nostalgic.  Whadday think?  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Original Folk Art - part two

I'm having fun looking back at all my old works!  Yee haw.  I started out painting flowers.  Gradually I got a bit more abstract.  
 I eventually hit my angular leaves phase.  I have to say, THIS one is still one of my favorites.  It speaks a lot about me as a person.

I gradually moved from flowers into people.  Truth be told, I am not really so hot at drawing or at painting people.  Yup its true.  My folk art comes from my lack of refined skill.  Shhh I didn't tell you that because well, its not the kind of thing we are suppose to admit to potential clients or collectors.

It completely amazes me what I could come up with that gave the illusion of a beautiful woman without actually making a face.

What I see now is what an incredible portfolio I have.  Wow.  Blow my socks off.  How did this ever some out of me.  The even bigger question is, can I still do it and does anybody even care anymore?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nov 11 Remembrance Day Canada Proud

What dose baseball in the 1960's have to do with war and Remembrance Day you ask?

That picture is my dad in the early 1960's.  He was the kind of guy that, as you can see in this picture, that gave it his all. He played hard, he worked hard and he did everything 120% percent. He was a math genius that could add up a grocery list and add tax faster than a cash register all in his head.  He would hand flabbergasted cashiers exact change just for the sheer shock value of it.

He was almost 40 when he met my mother.  They met on the pro-bowling tour.  Yup both my parents were pro-bowlers.  Sounds kind of crazy now but it was the 1960's and bowling was hot.  My mother had the proud distinction of having bowled a perfect game.

My mother in Hollywood in 1954.

They were a quirky couple.  My dad made my mother have fun.  He dragged her along for the ride.  He lived like he was given a second chance at life because he was.

My dad spent many years in Europe fighting in WWII and then as part of the Canadian peace keeping mission.  He had lied about his age and was in a war zone at the ripe old age of 16.  

Here he is, far left hand side at the back.

I know very little about his time in Europe.  I do, however, have some very grainy, disturbing pictures.  He was in a German prison camp and held as a prisoner of war.  I have pictures of the camp that he took in 1946 that he kept neatly stored in a Players cigarette tin. I have his pin from his beret.     

Even though I have so little and know even less, I still weep over the devotion of my father and the others who went before him and have come after him.  He was truly one of the lucky ones.  He came home and went on a lived his life.  He met my mother, went fishing, played ball and had me.  For that, I am truly grateful.  

My father passed away at a fairly young age.  He never met his grand children.  He would be so very proud of them.  They have grown up knowing that their granddad went to war.  They have heard the precious few stories that I can tell them.  They have learned to remember Canada's contribution to world peace.  

One of the biggest moments was when we visited the Canadian Memorial Park in Vimy France.  To stand in France on the great battle grounds of WWI was humbling.  To see the Canadian flag proudly flying took my words away.  

And the single most humbling reminder of the impact of war, the sign that proclaims the presence of live explosives in the mine field 100 years later.  

Thank you to everyone who has ever put their own lives on hold to ensure peace in the world.  Please remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice each and every day you go about your normal daily routine and especially  on Nov 11th.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

What is in my head....

Its not very often that we get to go back in time and revisit ourselves.  We can think of the past but to really go back and relive a moment is a truly rare thing.  I recently had such a moment.

For a while, I worked as a self-representing artist.  I painted and sold quirky folk art.  At the height of my art career, I had built up a following and had sold to people in many different countries including Australia, Italy, the UK, the US and Canada.

For what ever reason, naked women became my thing.  It was amazing how it was almost exclusively women gravitated to them.  

Life happened and that chapter of my life closed rather abruptly.  I have several pieces of my work scattered throughout my house.  

The chicken lives in the hall.  Its one of my favorites that I ACTUALLY framed.  

If you read my blog, you might have seen this one in DS's room.  

And the one of my older son walking our dog.  

I painted very few of people I know.  The one of my older son and our dog is one of the VERY rare exceptions.  A collector in Texas bought it.  I don't even have it anymore. Almost all of things I created existed in my crazy head.  

And, well, you get the idea.  I have a LARGE portfolio of work most of which I sold.  

This spring, I landed back in my old life.  I went back to work for my old employer.  It was a surreal experience.  I saw people I hadn't seen in 10 years.  I caught up on office news.  I also met a pile of new people.  

One of the new people was just utterly remarkable.  Before me stood one of my the women from my art.  A real iteration of a figment of my imagination. 

I painted this eight years ago in July 2006.  I MET her this year in a training session.  We both felt a crazy instant connection to each other.  Recently I rather sheepishly told her that I had at one time, painted naked women and that, I had actually concocted her in my head years before.  

I scrambled around looking for it. I was sure I still had it.  Of the 800 or so paintings I did, I have less than 50 in my personal collection.  Most of the stars are on my walls. A lot of the works I have, are partially finished or the rejects I meant to fix or alerter or just didn't go where I wanted them to and were relegated to the meh pile.  

And I found it!

I was SO excited that I STILL had it.  And guess what, I don't have it anymore!  Yup, it has a new home. I hope I never see real green skies or freaky smiling cats and flying dogs.  I think one character from my head popping my life and walking into my house and giving me a huge big hug is exactly what I needed right now.

Life leads you down a path and you meet the people you need to meet to live your story.