Monday, May 4, 2015

Eat cake for breakfast!

 Happy Birthday Hannah. Now go change the world.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Celebrating Miss H's 14th birthday with a gaggle of girls coming over for a sleepover. More estrogen in the house! Poor Marathon Man or Lucky Marathon Man - you decide. I say lucky but then I'm biased:)

Friday, April 24, 2015

April Showers?

Did we put the patio furniture out too soon?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is Radiation anyway?

In early February I had my second surgery (lumpectomy) followed by a mammogram which cleared me to go onto radiation treatments. If you'd asked me last November what radiation treatments looked like I'd have answered, no idea? Only because I didn't need to know.
This morning, I had my last radiation treatment.
External Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to damage cancer cells. I had one session every weekday (weekend rest breaks allow the normal cells to recover) for 5 weeks = 20 sessions.
Although the ominous machine+bed was creepy looking the sessions were kind of relaxing with easy listening music playing in a dimly lit room (The Doobie Brother's Black Water comes to mind:). These sessions were fast, about 15 minutes long (a good thing) and painless (a better thing). Plus the radiation therapists were super nice (another good thing).

This is what 20 radiation treatments look like.
The radiation therapists position you in the exact spot, with every visit, so that the radiation beams hit the same target each time. When you're all 'lined up', the therapists (there is always 2) leave the room and the linear accelerator (the huge machine at the end of the bed) is turned on. While making a slow buzzing sound, it rotates from right to left, allowing the beams to do what they do.
For my last 4 sessions the length of the treatments remained the same while the radiation levels were increased.
A big thank you to the super friendly Radiation Therapists for taking the this is what radiation looks like photos each day:)

Radiation treatments come with side effects that are different from person to person. Side effects depend on: the part of your body being treated, the type and amount of radiation you get and your general health. Radiation to the breast area can cause dryness, itchiness or reddening of the skin.
After my treatment I was given a small booklet, Life after Cancer Treatment - 2 quotes in it stood out for me;

"I do consider myself a survivor. I think the word simply reminds me that
the outcome could have been entirely different" ~ Allan

"It's funny - I hate the word survivor. I didn't want to be Julie with breast cancer and I don't want to be Julie who had breast cancer. I am Julie who just happened to have this happen in my life" ~ Julie

I'm with Julie on this one.
And now it's back to the road.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Owl Project, Part 2

I'm happy to say that last week I finished The Yellow Owl (the last panel) which means that the biggest part of my Owl Project is done. Yeah! Each panel is 1.5'x4' and made with glass beads, chained chrystal rhinestones and hand cut Vitreous glass tiles.
I'm now onto Part 2 of this project; getting them photographed. Because there is so much detail mosaics are very difficult to photograph.
Here's a look back on the making of these panels.
The first photo (this small unfinished mosaic) sparked the idea that started The Owl Project.
And this is the sketch that got it all started.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of The Owl Project ...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Baffin Island

Last week Marathon Man was in Baffin Island, on a business trip. He came back saying that it was an unbelievable experience - a stunning trip that he never would have taken if it wasn't for work. He was in a whole different world where beware of Polar Bear signs are normal and a case of pop (12 cans) is $66! It was cold and stark yet breathtakingly beautiful. And if he had a bucket list (he's not a bucket list kind of guy) he could now scratch touch an iceberg off:)
I wanted to share some of his photos.
The above left photo is dogs out on the ice, there to warn of Polar Bears.
The photo below is two icebergs. It reminded me of a Lauren Harris painting
Below, Baffin Island by Lauren Harris, 1930 (of The Group of Seven)

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Owl Project, panel #6...

Today I'm working on the background of panel #6, Yellow Owl. Yeah! it's the last panel.
When done they'll be photographed for another related project. Stay tuned...
Side Bar: William is always in my studio, keeping me company, on the floor or in the bed. Kate, on the other hand, is a roamer.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today's Winter Wonderland

Today's walk was beautiful and thankfully not as cold as it's been. William and Kate were very busy in search of the elusive Canadian Field Mouse. They caught one was ugly:(

Friday, February 20, 2015

Just keep on walking...

On February 6th I had my second surgery. Although they call it a lumpectomy it's not always a 'lump' that is removed. In my case, it was a general area that was dealt with. It wasn't a big deal, another day surgery which meant that I was in and out on the same day and good to go by the next.
Yesterday I had that surgery's follow up appointment to discuss what the pathologist had to say about the tissue that was removed. The answer: there seems to be some 'calcifications' still lingered? (stubborn little f@*kers) so it's hard to say if they got it all?
With that said I'm now waiting for an appointment with my Radiologist Oncologist (yes I now have one of those) to discuss whether I'll need a MRI (made a mental note to google all about those when I got home:), have another mammogram and/or maybe even have a third surgery before starting the radiation treatments?
If I sound rather calm about the prospect of having another surgery it's because I am. For now, for me, 3 or 4 surgeries vs. a mastectomy makes the most sense and is an easy choice to make.
In the mean time I'm just going to keep on walking...what else am I going to do?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Owl Project, panel #5...

It was a crazy cold long weekend (-26° on Saturday) which made it very easy to spend a lot of time, in my studio, working on my Owl Project. I started the background of panel #5, Purple Owl, and am hoping to finish it and move on to my last panel, Yellow Owl, by the end of the week?
FYI, it's easy to work all day when the company comes and goes:)