Friday, August 15, 2014


3 flower heads of the same Hydrangea. Each globe at a different phase. Fantastic! The light has been almost ominous lately. The sky is pale gray, the light feels flat but it's good for photographs. So I popped out and took these of the shrub I pass by on my way to my studio. I rush past things so often, there is so much to do. I feel like I never scratch the surface so today I stopped and captured these before the brilliance drains right out of them. I took my bike out for a ride and thought about Robin Williams. I rode home in the darkness and didn't crash. I'm sorry he was beyond the point that a good ride on the bike couldn't sort him out. We're all down here in the trenches, doing what it takes. Summer is divine even if the news and rain has changed our moods a little, it's beautiful.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

June Blog

So what happened in June was I had the second surgery to remove my thyroid. The good part. The bad part went in January. It took a long time to get over in the winter. I felt profoundly wounded. I had had a huge scare at the discovery of the tumor  and then it took quite awhile after the surgery to get the results. So then I know something that I didn't want to know, but the good news is that part of me was in a trash heap somewhere. The nut sized cancer stopped dead.

The second surgery was easier. I had an idea of what to expect but the process of healing is still a job. The first 3 days were okay and then I was on my own for a few days which was not ideal. I should have asked for or demanded more help. After 10 days they took the bloodied bandage off and pulled out the sutures. The surgeon exclaimed "this looks great!" patting himself on the back for my benefit.  Somehow the incision site is less painful than the first time and I am grateful for that. In January I did not touch my neck near where they cut into me for over a month, despite knowing that gently manipulating the scar helps to soften the healing tissue. I felt apart from my body. 3 months after the first surgery I could feel connections being remade deep in my neck. Just around the time of the second surgery I was finally feeling normal. So I was more prepared for the second offense but the healing was still work that had to be done. In all it took about 3 weeks to feel okay again. There were real highs and lows during that time but then it all just dissolves little by little and before you know it you're getting up, getting dressed and going about your business like nothing happened. I was fortunate too that two other friends underwent surgery around the same time as me so I was able to help them and also have some really helpful discussions about healing. The surgeon only presents the landscape of the surgery they don't ever discuss in depth the after effects of the anesthesia on memory, the bowel, general outlook. In addition to the aftermath of the surgery I was also getting used to taking daily 2 or 3 Thyroid pills. At first 3 was too many and I felt horrible and jittery and I wasn't sleeping. The surgeon suggested backing off to 2 and that was a miracle.

14 days after the second surgery I awoke one evening, after a good weekend of playing tennis 2 days in a row and I felt so profoundly sad it was alarming. I climbed into bed with my husband and he rubbed my back as I drifted back into sleep. I felt badly about the damage to my body, the irreversible-ness of it all. The news came back, the pathology report was clear. No cancer in the side of the Thyroid they had removed but it was hard not to think, why couldn't I have kept it and used it rather than taking pills for the rest of my life. I felt again like an insignificant wounded animal up against a force much larger than myself and while I was grateful for the care I received it's hard not to feel like a statistic and a board recommended course of action. Am I out of the woods? I think so but the treatment continues, there will be another major test I will have to undergo in September involving Radioactive Iodine and 2 week diet beforehand. I will comply, what other choice do I have?

So all this is to say why I never blogged in June and maybe why the blog has been sparse all year so far. I am fine. I am here. I will prevail.

Monday, July 28, 2014

What I'm Not Reading

This is the book I started not to read after I heard the excellent Canada Reads program on the CBC.  I also heard subsequent interviews with Joseph Boyden and then my dad lent me his copy of the book. After reading a bit I returned the hard copy and bought a version for my Kindle which I read a little of and then stopped. That is why I am referring to it as the book I am not reading. I intend to pick it back up of course. My dad felt it was a bit brutal. It is. I like how the story is told through various voices. The writing itself is spare but descriptive. The part I have read, was violent but also magical and very real feeling. Since my trip to Smithers last year I have been thinking a lot more about the issues the First Nations face. The main one of those being how they are seen in today's and future societies. This generation needs stories like this to connect them to the history of Canada. And because I have not finished this book, that is all I can say.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Second Honeymoon

Celebrating 10 years of love, sovereignty and togetherness! Photo taken by a kind stranger south of Yachats, Oregon. A good trip that keeps getting better.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sticks and Stones

How do you fill your days?
You may well ask.
What are your long term goals?
To become a better artist.

Rowan Moore Seifred
 Stick Pile #1

For the last 3 or so years I have been trying to reconcile my identity as a graphic designer with my identity as an artist. The process has been interesting and the outcome, a complete surprise.

Rowan Moore Seifred
  Stick Pile #3

This journey began with my first life drawing class in over 20 years in 2013. Drawing and painting got me back into thinking about art making. I read somewhere that you should never think about the why of art making when you are making it. They are two different activities and should not get mixed up together. That used to catch-me-up and stop me dead.

Rowan Moore Seifred
 Looking south on the east perimeter. Piles are 20ft apart.

Now I see things in simpler terms. After 20yrs, my time on this property is likely limited and so I want to  immerse myself in it while I can. It made sense that my statement would involve this place.

Rowan Moore Seifred
 The first 3 piles run south from the north east corner of my property.

People are starved for nature. It's being destroyed but it's everywhere too. Growing up between the cracks in sidewalks, sprouting in gutters. Art is there too, waiting to be called upon.

I caught a snippit of a headline that an eco conscious art curator I know commented on, and it made me re-visit the stick piles I began making when I first moved here.  And there it was, an idea I had had long ago resurfacing and the right moment. I have been waiting and watching, biding my time.

 Forest selfie with cedar debris.

My plan for the next 2 years, (I picked 2 because that marks a major milestone in my life as a parent) is to create a series of these stick piles around the perimeter of my 5 acre property. I am not going to think about why. I am going to pile things up and see where it goes.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I begin this in my living room on Saturday morning listening to a groovy collection of John Zorn music. New to me and highly compatible with my current state of mind. There are tulips blooming everywhere, the leaves are emerging and the mountainside is changing shape and color with every moment. The garden is coming together here and at the Urban Farm. The Japanese maple outside the bedroom window that reminds me where I am in time is greeting me with delicate chartreuse leaves extended on flaming red branches. On the nights when the moon was full and the night was clear the tree was black and white as if covered in snow. Waking and seeing it at first, I could not believe my eyes. It took a moment for my brain to understand that it was moonlight and not snow after all. I heard some good poems read and I saw a few concerts and reconnected with the dreaminess of listening to art performed. By chance we got a hand-me-down piano, something I have wanted for a long time but was not sure I could afford. My neck is healing. It has taken awhile and it is still not quite 100%. I am feeling reclusive, selective about who I see and what I take on beyond what I am working on. I think it is a healing response and at the same time I think it is a transition period for me.  Taxes—the most recent obstacle to my creative pursuits— are done. And today I am washing my office floor—preparing the space for work. Space to work gets lost in the chaos of life; hidden under paper, place mats and unopened bills. The truth is the cleaning is all part of the practice and that is why when the thought came to me to wash the floor, I said yes. This is an important part of my daily practice, saying yes to doing things, whatever they are. I stop myself all the time and consequently things have backed up on me, I take too long to do things. I am too sporadic. So the idea of the practice is to add consistency to the behavior I am working on developing. Why is it so challenging to give myself an hour a day where I take time to move my creative—non-work—work along? This is the hurdle, making time and doing it. Taking the time and sinking-in to do the deep work, without losing touch with everyday life, that is what I wrestle with. It feels like losing control but I know the only way to explore creatively is to let go, really push off from the dock and float alone into the darkness of the catacombs where it all originates from.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stop gap

I am not dead. I am not ill. I am reflecting. Nothing new there but maybe there is a new depth to the reflection. At any rate, many things feel a bit trite at the moment like quippy little blog posts like this one. As you were.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


This is what I am trying to achieve. The sensation of lying on my back staring up at endless openness while standing upright in the modern world. The sensation of sun on my face when skies are gray and complicated. The sensation of boundless joy while performing the mundane tasks of simply being alive. So far so good.
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