i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Anxiety about going to the gym sucks

  On Black Friday I joined the YMCA. There was no joining fee. I have paid for my membership for the past three months and I have not gone once. I don’t like when people look at me. I don’t want to wear the wrong clothes. I have plans to go. Then I don’t go. […]

Is it time to say good-bye to our dog Martha?

  I took Martha to her veterinarian. She has a growth on her stomach and she is having trouble walking with her hind legs. Is it time to say good-bye? When my youngest daughter was two we put our fourteen-year-old dog, Sally to sleep. Her grandmother said to her, “Sally was put to sleep today.” […]

The start of something new with a daily calendar

Today is the first day of the year, the start of something new. A new year. A new day. Planning the year with monthly, weekly and daily calendars. Making lists. Lists of projects to start. Lists of projects to finish. Letters to write. Postcards to design. Books to illustrate. Dogs to walk. Litter boxes to […]

Don’t make your children give hugs

You are holding your toddler in your arms as you walk to the front door. The doorbell has just rung, and you open it to let your parents in. They have just driven hours through snowdrifts to see you and they want to hold their grandchild. But your child has tightened her grip on your arm […]

Burnt peas, self-worth and being kind to yourself

I burnt the peas again. I burnt them three times this morning. The first two times, they were just a little burnt. I dumped the peas out of the pan and tried again. The last time, I burnt the bottom of the pan black. I ate my sardines with no peas. I am worthless. I […]

Dear Grandmother in the store at Target today

Dear Grandmother in the store at Target today, I heard you say to your grandson in the dish soap aisle, “Stop asking me questions.” You were irritated. I could tell by the expression on your face and the tone of your voice. I walked past you. A few minutes later we were in another aisle […]

How to approach the creation of art: transform and exaggerate reality

When Dorothy walked out of her church at eleven a.m. on November 21st, 1982, on Crescent Road at 1st Street North East in Calgary, Alberta, she might have been surprised to see five identical black and white photographs of mice lined up against the Calgary skyline. The mice, five feet eight inches tall, part of […]

How deadlines help sew bridesmaid dresses and publish books

The night before my friend Michelle’s wedding, May 15th, 1981, I was going to sew on the sleeves and hem my bridesmaid dress. However, I forgot that I had to attend the bridal dinner the night before the wedding, and then I got home really late. I could just wake up early and sew on […]

The greatest gift you can ever give

Today my husband and I have been married for twenty-six years. The greatest gift he has ever given me is not the all-clad frying pan I accidently left at the campground. It is not the diamond ring he proposed with, or the pitchfork I asked for on our fifteenth anniversary.   He gave me the […]

Dog diarrhea, speed and comparing

Martha had diarrhea on the carpet in the living room. We didn’t know she wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t bark to be let out. We found the mess in the morning. Life is what happens when you are working on something else. Ripping out the carpet and putting in a new floor was not on […]