With a bit of luck and poking about a new bike for our daughter turned up at a garage sale on St. Leon on Saturday. By new I mean it’s seen much better days, it’s at least as old as our daughter is, but it was $30.00 so when this one inevitably gets stolen regardless of lock at least I won’t be out hundreds of dollars. Bike theft has to be the safest of criminal enterprises as I’ve never once heard of a bike being recovered nor of any theft ring being dismantled. It seems to be viewed as a victimless crime.
I turned up what looks like a legit bike for our son on Kijiji. It’s considerably more than the $30.00 bike but I’m hoping to get the price down a bit when we go see it this afternoon. Looking forward to spending money I don’t have – it gives that thrill of jumping out of a plane without having to actually jump out of the plane, the downside is there’s no parachute involved. 🙂 I crack me up.
In the meantime the paintings for the exhibition are almost all done. Here are the two most recent with the final one in planning stages at the moment. Fingers crossed now that a few will sell in July.
Last month was a disaster on the financial front, but more importantly both our kids had minor relapses. Not major, which is a good thing, but minor. Enough so that it made it clear that I’m never actually going to have a life of my own. My life for the last half decade, such as it is has been work, paying bills, and taking care of the kids.
In the cracks Donna has kept with me though that’s something that I believe she is losing patience for (perhaps lost patience for an is too nice to lay it out). In the cracks I can write and paint. I get the cracks in time between one responsibility and the next. There is no time to live my life. Some would point out that this is my life and I am living it but others would be less pedantic and know what I mean. I am not living the life that I want other than in tiny slivers of time stolen from other tasks.
A friend called me last night after I got home from work. I was trying to settle in to do some gesture studies when the phone rang. He is having trouble with his computer again and wants me to come look at it. He’s dying so I’m not about to say no and arranged things for nine in the morning. Nine would allow time to get to work before opening so there would be time time in to layout a new painting. He called me back a little later pushing the time to 10 because he has trouble dressing in the morning. It wasn’t deliberate, he didn’t plan to wreck the morning but it is done and there’s no cure for it.
I’m reminded of that old line from so many movies “No one here gets out alive.” Ain’t it the truth.
In the meantime here is the most recent in the Depanneur series for the Celebration Canada 150 / Montreal 375 show.
The month is almost over, just two days left. It has been a horrid month on the weather and financial front. The weather will recover, it always does. The finances…well give it a few months of niggardly spending and it may recover as well. I won’t be sad to see this month gone.
There is however a silver lining – The Soap Box, a Toronto based poetry and prose magazine has accepted three of my poems for publication in their second anthology. Yay me! The news came hard on the heels of The Antigonish Review rejecting four poems I had sent them. So there’s that.
Another silver lining – a fellow artist, Jayne Keefe, has offered to collaborate on some paintings where I paint the backgrounds and details of the buildings then turn the paintings over to her to decorate the walls with graffiti. This way I never have to worry about stepping on a graffiti artist’s toes and we create our own Montreal.
The fifth depanneur for the Celebration Canada 150 / Montreal 375 exhibit is ready – see below.
When you’re poor it doesn’t take much to throw your financial world into a complete tailspin. The upside: the mortgage is covered. The downside: my next pay, all of it, goes to the heating oil company. Cushion left in bank: laughable.
I’m lucky though. If I hadn’t found a second job in July and been squirreling money away for a rainy day then when the storm hit it would have been so much worse. Starting back from zero is a lot better than starting back from less than zero. I’ll take that any day.
It happens from time to time. When it does it hits the stress levels far beyond what is normal into a whole other realm. Fortunately I can laugh in the face of financial ruin, most people cannot.
The oil tank hit 1/8 of a tank so I had to place an order for heating oil. Figure six hundred litres at seventy-five cents a litre for four-hundred-fifty plus tax bringing it to about five twenty. Okay. What can you do? Heating oil has to be bought. Cue the electricity bill coming in about an hour later at a bouncing five-hundred-twenty. Ouch. Yesterday was also a day off work for which I scheduled the dentist for our daughter and myself and rang up a whopping six-hundred-ninety dollar bill. It’s not over yet though. After months of not being able to read I finally caved in and saw an optometrist for a paltry, by comparison, eighty-dollars. She wouldn’t give me a prescription right away because she is worried about my right eye and wants to dilate the pupils so she can see the back of it in two weeks. (apparently seeing random flashes of light is not a good thing). When I got home from work there was a voice message from Videotron saying that the bill is past due. Our son, who is responsible for the bill, hasn’t paid it in several months (one of the problems with automatic billing to a credit card is that if there isn’t enough room it doesn’t get processed but no notice is sent to the client either). Another five-hundred out of pocket. Not finished yet – another two-hundred-thirty-eight dollars for prescription medications for our son who is also currently out of work so not covered by insurance. Ouch.
Two-thousand-five-hundred-forty-eight dollars in one day. Six weeks salary – poof. I’ll get about three hundred back from insurance for the dental. So call it two thousand two even. Good thing I didn’t spend the twenty-dollars I had planned to buy some acrylic gouache 🙂
I have to laugh even though it is going to take a few months to catch up and I’m going to have to cash in any vacation time instead of taking vacation – let’s face it I’m working during vacation anyway so there’s that. If nothing else I would like to be known for not having trouble with the curve. On the upside – the mortgage goes through on Friday 😀 😀 😀
My latest for those who follow that sort of thing.
I don’t write about work or where I work because that way be dragons for any employee of any company.
That doesn’t give a lot of leeway to write about some fine people other than in the most vague sense.
In that most vague sense I am grateful that my second job has brought people into my life who are as enthusiastic, actually more enthusiastic, about the arts as I am. I didn’t realize how much I missed that. It’s good to have back. Donna, who has always encouraged my pursuit of writing, has been equally encouraging about my drawing and painting and for that too I am grateful. My friend Richard has been very supportive from the beginning as well – even going so far as to buy supplies for me when I’m cash poor (which is most of the time).
It may all be for naught and in truth that will hurt but it will also be fine because I am happier when I am writing and painting than I am at any other time of the day. It may be making art in the cracks of a seven day work week, but at least it’s making art.
As a Quebecois of the English variety I don’t participate much in Quebecois culture. To be frank it’s always been a kind of “not wanted on voyage” feeling for me whenever I’ve had the temerity to go to any event that was not created for the English community. There are snippets, pieces of Quebecois French culture (yes there is a Quebecois English culture which is neither recognized nor merited) that have seeped into my consciousness over the years. Marjo, Felix Leclair, Boul Noir, Harmonium, Pagliaro, Gabrielle Roy, Emile Nelligan etc.
One song that has plagued me for years is one for which I had no name, no performer and reveals a lack of knowledge about where I have spent my life that is stunning. I found it yesterday by asking a friend about it. All I had to go on was the description of a soaring voice and the three words “comme une millionaire”, that was all it took. She got it right away – Les Blues du Businessman. This song has been on my “I have to know what that is” list for years. I don’t “love” many songs but this one falls into that category.
Cancer visited our family again this time in the form of bone cancer in our dog Bruno. The vet believed that it had spread to his lungs as well which could have explained the frequent panting. Last Wednesday at the tail end of the 40cm March snow storm we took him to the vet and had him put down. Our daughter cried uncontrollably – there isn’t another possible description. That was that and the house has been quieter and I check the weather report less often because I don’t walk as much as I used to. As much as he will be missed we won’t be getting another dog.
Bruno the Wonder Dog
Out of the blue yesterday Sennelier, the art supplies company, started following my art progress on my art blog. That makes three major art vendors and two galleries following my work which, even if it is only a passing interest, is still pretty cool for me. This was the painting posted after which they started following me. This one is for the exhibition in July. One down nineteen to go.
Woodland and Bannantyne in Verdun
I still haven’t heard back from any of the poetry submissions but then that is always a long process.
Trying to get poetry published in an age of self publishing and the never ending slurry of words generated by social media is not easy. I’ve still been trying.
Her Heart Words is an online poetry magazine based in Australia. They ran a Secret Santa poem I wrote in December. The idea of the Secret Santa poem is to leave a poem, preferably an uplifting one, for someone to find. I’ve continued to submit to them and recently they picked up two more pieces which they will be running on their Instagram account for a series entitled “Her” poems, about, celebrating or for “Her”. At the same time I’ve also submitted to The Soap Box a Toronto based magazine which had an open call for poems about “Home”. I can never come at these things straight on for some reason so they may wonder why I submitted a poem about watching contrails, and a homeless man along with one about walking around what I once called home. We’ll see.
There’s no point hunting unless you go after big game. In addition to Her Heart Poetry and The Soap box I’ve also submitted to some big league publications. My logic is that I am writing as well as I am ever likely to write so I might as well give it a go. Tin House, Ploughshares and The Antigonish Review have all received submissions. Likelihood of success is between zero and one percent – they receive thousands of submissions every month, but nothing ventured….. Truth is I’d be amazingly happy if any of them published even one piece but would really, really like to see something in The Antingonish Review.
In the meantime I will keep painting, keep writing and feel a little bit chuffed about having two pieces in a series on an Instagram account with sixteen thousand followers. It’s more people than I’d ever reach from here. In the meantime here are some small pieces I’ve painted recently.