Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why I Haven’t Written in Awhile...

I’m sorry I haven’t written a post about what’s been happening in my life for awhile. I keep beating myself up for my negligence.

However, I’ve compiled a list of all the things that I’ve been doing which have prevented me from posting.  Here it is:

  • I went to England for my 60th birthday back in August with five friends. It was a blast! (Pictures will follow...)
  • One of my employees quit working with me in order to become an arborist. Another employee decided to lessen her workload so that she can go back to school and follow her dreams of becoming an EMS operator. Good for them, I say!  However, I then had to look for new people to work for me and then train them. Some people worked out and some didn’t. I think I’ve finally found some keepers now, though!
  • In recent months, I’ve been collaborating with two filmmakers in producing a documentary on my artwork and the story of my life. It’s extremely exciting!!!
  • Because part of my past as a young woman involved going to see male strippers, we recreated a scene for the documentary depicting that time in my life. We asked men from Remington’s strip club to be part of this venture. Interestingly enough, I became involved with one of the men. I’m not sure where it will go, but I’m having fun!
  • I’m trying my hand at writing an art grant. I’ve never done anything like this on my own before and the deadline is October 11th.  Yikes! Exciting,though, to try to broaden my artistic horizons....
  • Some time this month, I’m going to be collaborating with a group of people upon the production of a play. I’d say more, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to yet.
Life continues to be interesting!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sex and the Disabled Woman



Sex and the Disabled Woman
by
Anne K. Abbott


Everything seemed so simple when I was a child. Sure, I had Cerebral Palsy and had to have assistance with all of my daily needs, but I also had a family that loved me, supported me and tried their best to give me as normal a life as possible. With them behind me I felt as if I could do anything or become anybody I wanted. When I told them that I wanted to be a doctor or a nurse or an actress when I grew up nobody made fun of my dreams or said that they were impossible. When I told them that one day I wanted to be a wife and mother they would say: “That’s nice, dear, I’m sure that’ll happen one day for you if you really want it to.”

Like any other child I liked playing with other children. My brother and I were very close, so it seemed natural for me to be included in his circle of friends. I went to a school especially for children with disabilities, and there I made friends with girls and boys my own age. My girlfriends and I would play with our dolls. We would pretend that they were real people living within a real family setting and acting out real family situations. In a sense, like other little girls, I think we were preparing ourselves for what we supposed our lives might be like when we grew up. I had boyfriends, too. Like my girlfriends, some of the boys had disabilities and some were able-bodied. Somehow, even at so young an age, there were often romantic feelings between myself and these boys. Even back then I was beginning to be aware of my sexuality. I had my first kiss on the lips from one boy when I was eight, and then got “married” at age ten to another boy who was in my class.

When I reached puberty, however, everything seemed to change. Gone were the days of playing with dolls and the mock marriage ceremonies during recess. The age of innocence had seemingly disappeared overnight. The rules had suddenly, inexplicably, changed. Everyone was becoming concerned about their body image, trying to fit in, trying to find their own place in the world. Like other teenagers, we began to find fault with the way we looked, becoming overly-critical at the sight of the slightest flaw. The people on TV, in movies, and in the music-industry really didn’t help matters either. They seemed to be so beautiful, so perfect, so flawless. Would we ever be like them? It seemed as if society and the media were saying that you had to look perfect in order to succeed in life. It didn’t help that people with disabilities were rarely shown or mentioned in the media either.  If this unspoken rule was ever broken, then we were portrayed as helpless and asexual. Usually, the actors didn’t have any type of disability at all and, thus, had no life experiences from which to draw upon.

I felt terribly confused and inadequate during my teenage years, and my mother unwittingly added to these feelings by trying to give me some advice. She told me to try not to become romantically interested in able-bodied boys, her reasoning being that she thought that they would never want the responsibility of taking care of someone with Cerebral Palsy. It was her experience, she explained, that men liked to be taken care of, but they didn’t particularly like to take care of someone else. I should stick to boys with Cerebral Palsy or other type of disabilities who would understand my needs, she told me. My mother wasn't trying to hurt me when she said this, she just wanted to save me from rejection.
Unfortunately, rejected I was - by both able-bodied boys and boys with disabilities! I found that a lot of boys with disabilities only wanted to become involved with able-bodied girls. They didn't want to stick to girls who happened to have disabilities; indeed, they didn’t think they should have to. One boy explained his feelings to me this way: “You live with your disability every day of your life. Why would you want someone who’s exactly like you to remind you of your own limitations?”

There were some boys with disabilities, admittedly, who didn't care whether a girl was able-bodied or not. Unfortunately, I just never "clicked" with them. Either they weren't my type or I wasn't theirs.

I learned that sometimes you can’t help who you’re attracted to, and so, despite my mother's warnings, there were times when I tried to catch the attention of able-bodied men. I was like any other woman; if I saw a good-looking guy I’d want to sit and talk to him, maybe even flirt with him. A lot of these guys liked me, sure, but never in that way. They they just wanted to be friends.

It was unbelievably frustrating for me, and very demoralizing as well. I felt as if I were invisible, as if I were somehow a non-person. I felt as if society expected me to suppress my sexuality and act as if it didn’t matter, and that was just something I would not, could not do. There were some people who assumed I was void of any type of sexuality to begin with and needed to be protected from any kind of sexual intimacy. Outwardly I was the same person I’d always been - cheerful, outgoing, optimistic - but inside I began to feel angry and resentful of these kinds of attitudes, of all the restrictions that were put upon me. I just couldn’t understand what had happened to my life. As a child I was included in all aspects of life; now, I was excluded from a big part of life that most people took for granted. As a child people assured me that my dreams of having a husband and family of my own would be easily attainable when I grew up, but now that I was actually a grown up, it seemed like someone had suddenly changed the rules on me. I was still a nice person, wasn't I? I was a good person with a lot to offer. Perhaps I wasn’t one of those perfect beauties on TV or in movies, but I had my own type of beauty, didn’t I?  Why couldn't anybody see this? Why couldn’t anybody get past my disability? And, why was I supposed to stick to my own kind?  The whole world should be open to me, just as it is for everybody else.

When I was twenty-three my parents put me into Participation House (a group home for people with physical and mental disabilities) for “parent relief” while they went away on their yearly two-week vacation in the Caribbean. It was there that I began having a relationship with one of the male attendants. He aggressively pursued me by kissing me and telling me that I was both beautiful and desirable.

After I came home from Participation House we started dating for a while. Finally, I thought, I’d found a man who liked me “in that way”, who knew I had the same feelings and desires as any other woman. Finally, I could have a romantic relationship with a man just like any other woman. I was in love with him, or thought I was at the time, but I never fooled myself into believing that he loved me. Even so, when he broke up with me to marry another woman with a disability it hurt like hell. Later on, I realized that what hurt most was the fear that I’d never find anyone else, that this man was probably my last chance at happiness.

Distraught and heartbroken, I took my sister-in-law Sylvia up on her suggestion of going to a male strip club.  One visit turned into dozens more. The club was called the Tropicana, and I loved it there! Because Sylvia and I went so often, all of the guys got to know us and we became friends.  They even helped me get in and out of the car and, because the club had one step to the entrance, they also assisted me with entering and exiting.  One of my favourite memories of that period in my life is of having one guy sit on my lap while another wheeled me to Sylvia’s car.

These young, good-looking men were my muses.  I would paint and sketch their images, trying to capture their youth, sensuality, and vitality. I felt as if I were channeling Toulouse Lautrec who also had a disability and painted provocative pictures of women who worked at cabarets, such as the Moulin Rouge.

They were my fantasy.  They seemed perfect, flawless, marvelous examples of the male anatomy.  The only trouble was that they couldn’t see beyond my disability. To them, I would always be that woman in a wheelchair; pretty and charming, sure, but with a crooked spine and no speech.

At twenty-nine I was resigned that I would die an old maid, a virgin, forever without a mate. If that’s how things were going to be then so be it, I thought; I’d tried my best. And then, one day, something happened that changed my life. A friend of mine talked me into purchasing a computer and a modem. My friend also showed me how to go online access a BBS (bulletin board system) and communicate with people. From then on, I spent up to three or five hours a day in chat rooms with total strangers talking about anything and everything.

One day, I logged onto a BBS called FAN (the Free Access Network) and began chatting with this guy named Rob. He seemed sweet and funny, and I liked him, as he liked me, almost instantly. We chatted for hours and soon found out that we had many things in common. Even so, I didn't feel comfortable enough at first to tell him that I had Cerebral Palsy. I was afraid of how he might react - I couldn't face another rejection! However, because he kept asking me if he could meet me and because he told me he thought he was falling in love with me I felt like I had to break my silence. Amazingly, Rob didn't care about my disability. He still thought I was a wonderful, worthwhile person, he said, and wanted to meet me.

All of my family and friends thought I was nuts to go meet a guy I’d only chatted with for a month over a BBS, but I didn’t care. I knew Rob would be just as he had seemed in the chat rooms of the BBS. I was right, of course, and, when we met that day it was as if we had known each other all of our lives. We started dating after that, and soon fell in love. Neither of us could have been happier; it was as if we had been made especially for each other. For most of our lives, both Rob and I felt like misfits within society. Rob had clinical depression and low self-esteem issues, and I had my physical disability.  Apart, we felt misunderstood and devalued.  Together, we fit like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We took care of each other.

Rob and I were together for twenty-one years. Through good times and bad, we faced it all with love; respect; and humour.  Rob was the sweetest, kindest man you’d ever want to meet.  He’d give you the shirt off his back without thinking about it twice.  He loved me, needed me, and desired me.  To Rob, I was his wife, partner, and lover. He saw past my disability to the real me.

Two days after my thirtieth birthday I came to Rob a virgin.  Rob was very happy to show me what went where and why, and I was very eager to learn.  I finally knew about the pleasure of sex.  Making love with Rob was wonderful because we both wanted to please each other.

(For those of you who know the song Bobbie Brown by Frank Zappa, there’s a line that goes “Thanks to Freddie I’m a sexual spastic!”  I would kid around with Rob and say, “Thanks to you I’m a sexual spastic!” We would chuckle over this because the official diagnosis of my condition was Athetoid Spastic Cerebral Palsy.)

Rob only had one sexual partner before me, and without actually knowing it, I stole him away from her.  Rob explained that this other woman had only wanted to have sex with him, but she didn’t want the commitment of having a relationship.  A lonely guy, Rob was looking for something more meaningful.  He was looking for someone who would care about him.  So, when we started chatting online and I wanted to know everything about him and I cared about what was happening in his life, he broke up with the other woman.

 Like many other couples, after Rob and I got married we wanted to start a family. The first time we tried, I got pregnant. We were so happy and excited! Our friends and Rob’s family felt the same way too.  My family, however … not so much.

I won’t get into too much detail. Suffice to say, it wasn’t their finest hour. My brother and his wife had announced their own pregnancy a few months previously, and everyone was overjoyed for them.  Of course, I knew that my family was just trying to look out for my welfare, as they always had, and yet, this time I resented it.  They had crossed the line by automatically using the word abortion. I was a grown woman, married, and had received positive feedback from my doctor regarding my pregnancy.  Why couldn’t my family see that I had become a very independent and savvy person?  I didn’t need protection, I needed emotional support.

At five months, Rob and I faced the trauma of having   a miscarriage.  Although we tried to get pregnant many times afterwards, it just wasn’t in the cards.

Besides the miscarriage,  Rob and I faced a lot of hard times.   My father and Rob’s mother both passed away,  as well as several close friends and our beloved cat Dandylion.  Being poor and trying to survive on my meagre disability pension was difficult too.

And yet, we shared good times as well. Birthdays and Christmases were celebrated with family and friends joyously.  Rob was always entertaining our friends with music, TV shows, and video games.  I was always keeping myself busy with my artwork or writing articles for magazines. We eventually adopted two kittens and named them Hershey and Rascal, whom we absolutely doted upon. And, for my fiftieth birthday, Rob and I went on a ten day vacation in England, which was also like a second honeymoon for us..

Throughout our twenty-one years together, there was more laughter than tears and more good times than bad.  We loved each other completely, without any doubt or reservation.

Unfortunately, as we all know, nothing lasts forever …

Rob passed away in 2009 from a massive help with art attack. He was only forty-six years old.  It was like losing a limb or part of my soul when Rob died.  There’s not one day that goes by that I don’t miss him and wish that he was still here with me.

And yet, life inevitably goes on. I know that Rob would want me to be happy and to have a good life, so that’s what I try to do.  I cherish my wonderful memories with Rob, and yet look towards the future as well.

Being able to share my life with Rob has taught me one thing.  No matter who you are, if you yearn to find someone special, never give up hope or be afraid to take chances – they might suddenly appear and surprise you!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Why (part one)

Wednesday afternoons are the times of the week that I like to go to Starbucks, the location in the Holiday Inn to be exact. The people who work there know me, are courteous and friendly towards me, and know how I like my peppermint mocha frappucinos. It’s my stomping ground, the place where I can get my bearings for awhile before I go get groceries and other essentials.

Today, however, as I approached the ramp to the Holiday Inn to go to the Starbucks inside, I stopped in my tracks and groaned. Not again, I thought. Not again!  The ramp had been sectioned off with yellow caution tape and some guy was scraping off the paint which had become weather beaten and cracked due to our cold winter.

I explained that I wanted to go to Starbucks and there was no other way for me to get inside. Grudgingly, the tape was taken off and I was allowed to use the ramp.  I had to drive over a pile of soggy paint chips; it seemed like too much trouble to clean it up for me. Sure, so what if I get paint on my wheels and then track it into Starbucks?

Despite the already bad attitude of the worker (and the manager of the hotel who had appeared) they were told by my assistant that blocking off their ramp could be seen as a fire hazard. If there was a fire on their premises, how could a person in a wheelchair who had booked a room escape the building?

Inside Starbucks,  I snacked upon a double chocolate brownie and a frappucino.  As I sat there, one word kept resounding in my head:  Why.

Why did the hotel have to strip the paint off of the ramp in the daytime anyway?  Couldn’t they simply do the work at night when people are less likely to be around? Why did the hotel keep re-painting the ramp?  (This wasn’t the first time I, and other people in wheelchairs, had been thwarted from using it because another coat was being slathered on!)  Why didn’t they use better quality of paint, something specifically for the outdoors? And, why did the bloody ramp need to be painted at all? I’ve never ever seen stairs being painted?

Most importantly, though, why do the Holiday Inn staff always go out of their way to make feel bad for using something that was especially put there  for people like me? Why don’t they respect people like me, or indeed, the Ontario Disability Act?  Don’t they want my business? And, don’t they want Starbucks to get my business either?

If you’re ever on Carlton St. in Toronto,  could you please ask the management these questions?  I’d love to know the answers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

To All of the Cats I’ve Loved Before Part II ... Finally



This past Sunday was the one year anniversary of getting my newest cats Sherlock and Watson.  Happy anniversary, boys!  Thank you to Liz and her two sons for introducing them to me and for giving me this incredible gift of infinite cuteness and sweetness.

It has taken me awhile to post about Sherlock and Watson in my blog. At first, I felt conflicted. I felt guilty for not introducing them to my readers, and yet, because I was still heartbroken over the loss of Hershey and Rascal, l felt guilty for even considering to do so. It was as if I was betraying their memories somehow.

After awhile, however, I realized that I had enough love for all of my pets, both past and present  --  my dogs Tippy and Honey; my cats LuLu; Dandylion; Hershey and Rascal; and now, Sherlock and Watson.

Here are my new boys, everybody.  I hope you'll grow to love them as much as I do!










Friday, February 2, 2018

To All of the Cats I've Loved Before


To All of the Cats I've Loved Before


(LuLu)





Who Came in and out My Door

(Dandylion)





I'm Glad You Came Along

(Rascal)






You Always Soothed Whatever Was Wrong

(Hershey -
I can't believe it's s year today since you departed!)





To All of the Cats I've Loved Before



To be continued ....


Saturday, January 6, 2018

30 Years Ago



I found this old diary from 1988, the day when Rob and I met.  As I write this, it's thirty years later ....



In honour of my late husband Rob, I wore my Zappa t-shirt and his Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. Just like thirty years ago, when we first met, I had ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I wished with all of my heart that he could have been with me then to celebrate our anniversary. 





I bought Rob's favourite things: scotch, beer, and KFC.  I talked about him so much to everybody and anybody who would listen. I shed a gallon of tears, and raged against the Fates for taking him from me too bloody soon! Rob should have been here for our 30th anniversary, goddammit! Oh yes, and it's our 22nd wedding anniversary, too.  Weren't we romantic to have gotten married on the same date as when we met? 

Thirty years, forty, fifty, one hundred - for the rest of eternity - I shall always love my sweet, funny, weird Rob Warenda!








Monday, December 25, 2017

Distractions


I have two new cats named Sherlock and Watson. I revel in their sweetness and cuddiness.  I do love them, you know ... They’re not Hershey and Rascal, of course, but no other cat could ever compare to them .

This month, I’ve been immersed into the busy-ness of my business. I paint, copy thie image, make tons of different types of merchandise. This cycle of my business provides a good distraction for my mind, especially during the Christmas season.

I went to a make strip club with friends last week.  That was a good distraction too.  I hadn’t actually felt in the mood for our yearly “Dickmas” excursion, but I went anyway. I ended up snapping out of my funk and enjoying myself.  Sometimes you have to fake it to make it!

As another distraction, last night I had friends over for dinner and drinks and fun.  Today, Christmas Day, I’m having more friends over.

This month, whenever I was having a frappucino at Starbucks and a sappy Christmas song comes on (like Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") and I want to kill myself because of overwhelming sadness, I turn to the person with me and say, "So, how are you? What's new?"

Distractions and avoidance are the two ways by which I hold myself together during the month of December. You see, even though one part of me likes Christmas a bigger part dreads it because of all the overwhelming sadness it brings to me.

I miss so many people.  My mom, my dad and my best friend Aaron. Rob, of course, and Dandylion, and Hershey and Rascal. My Aunt Joyce recently died from lung cancer too.

This month has been particularly difficult for me. Thirty years ago, Rob and I started chatting through online bulletin board systems, which was pre-internet.  We started out as friends, flirted with each other a bit, flirted some more, and fell in love.

Thirty years ago. How can that be? It feels like I just saw Rob yesterday.  He should be here to celebrate this anniversary with me! Perhaps his spirit is here with me ... I don’t know. I know that I’d prefer him in tangible form to hold me and laugh with me.

I’m alone at the moment, listening to the ticking of the clock. It reminds me of the truth, that time marches onwards no matter what.

One wonderful and constant distraction from my sadness and the harsh realities of life is the fact that I have many cool, great, fantastic and brilliant people in my life. In fact, recently I’ve acquired several more friends, which makes me very happy.

So, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Or as my dear friend Aaron would say, “Fuck Christmas, have sex!”




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To Rob



To my late husband Rob and the love of my life:

It's Never Really Goodbye

It's never really goodbye
Although sometimes I may sigh
Although sometimes I may cry
It's never really goodbye
It's never really goodbye

You're never truly off my mind
You’re never truly off my mind
Despite the passage of time continuing to unwind
You're never truly off my mind
You're never truly off my mind

You were always here to help me to face life's reality
You were always here to help me to face its harsh brutality
Now all I have are sweet memories to get me through
Now all I have are sweet memories of the life I once shared with you

Forever you will stay in my head
Forever you will stay in my head
Remembering the happy times we shared
In and out of bed
In and out of bed

I’ll never understand
No, I’ll never really understand
Why you had to leave
Why you had to leave
Oh what a sad tale the Fates did weave
What a terribly sad tale the Fates did weave

Bastards.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Analyzing My Dreams


For several weeks, I've been having very vivid dreams. What's new, you may ask?  Anne, you are always having weird dreams.  Yes, well, the most recent ones seem to be about specific themes: yearning for the past, and yet struggling to make the present better and less viotile.

In one dream, I was in a library in Scarborough looking at all of the different types of books.  Feelings of of nostalgia washed over me when I saw Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Cinderella on the shelves.  They were my favourite stories as a child. And then, I saw a librarian I used to know and we chatted for awhile.  I felt happy. And yet, when I went outside I could see that the library was being boarded up, as if in preparation to be torn down.

Many of my recent dreams have involved my mother.  In one, I had this brilliant idea to buy a large condo and rent out rooms at a reasonable price to some of my employees. I wanted my mother to invest in this venture but she was doubtful. So, I went to Scarborough Town Centre (a mall that I used to hang out in when I was growing up) and stopped a fight between two spies in the food court. I screamed, "Why can't we all just get along?!" I then went outside and decided to go home - not to my current residence but to the house in which I grew up.

The weirdest dream I had was where I owned a large house in which both zombies and robots resided. Sure they were noisy, but I didn't seem to care because they paid their rent.  Suddenly, my Grandmother Abbott (who has been dead for 17 years!) knocked on the door and asked to see my brother Bruce.  One of the zombies told her that he wasn't there and she kind of grumbled and went away. I struggled out of my manual wheelchair (I don't know why I wasn't in my power wheelchair... or why my grandmother didn't ask for me... or why, indeed, she was nonplussed about a zombie answering the door) and crawled outside onto the freezing cold snow, trying to get to my grandmother and tell her that Bruce was coming soon - just wait! Suddenly, I saw my brother, not as he looks now but as he appeared as a teenager: long hair, platform shoes, and driving that beat up old blue van of his.  He got out, and I immediately yelled:  "Bruce David Abbott - where have you been?!"

Those have been a few of my most recent dreams, the more memorable ones at least ....

If I'm honest, though, it's not just trying to analyze my dreams that have been on my mind lately - it's the songs that accompany them in the morning.  A lot of times it's Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry About a Thing" that pops into my head.  It's a seemingly benign song, and yet sometimes it makes me feel like crying.  Both my mother and Rob would always try to soothe my worries away.  Rob,
especially would make me see how silly and useless worrying actually is. He comforted me, charmed me, and made me laugh.

"The Sound of Winter" by Bush is another one that likes to replay in my head, so many times I feel like I'm about to go nuts. I love that song, though, that's the funny part of it. I love the lyrics and the imagery within it.

Mind strong, Body strong
Try to find equilibrium
Head straight, screwed on
Been screwed up for too long
I don't want to lean on the waves
I watch the storm evaporate
I think of you in starry skies
I keep you so alive
Let's walk through the fire together
Disappear in the golden sands
It's all in your face
I see you break
It's like the sound of winter
The bleeding love, the silent escape
You've got to hang on to yourself
It's like the sound of winter
Medusa smiles, Judas lips
Open arms and finger tips
Love bites and recompense
I'll be with you until the end
Let's walk through the fire together
Disappear in the golden sands
It's all in your face
I see you break
It's like the sound of winter
The bleeding love, the silent escape
You've got to hang on to yourself
It's like the sound of winter
Hang on to yourself
Hang on to yourself

During these brutal and  uncertain times, remember to hold onto yourself and the ones you love. To simply yearn for the past and focus upon nothing else is a waste of time.  Enjoy the present, and try to respect and help one another.  Prepare yourself for the future - I think it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Trip to England in Words


Time goes by so fast. It's hard to believe that only a little over a week ago I arrived home from a week's stay in England.

It was both a chance to display my artwork in the PARALLAX Art Fair and to take in some of the sights of London.

Back in April, when the opportunity to be in the art fair dropped into my lap, I was at a low point of my life.  The loss of both Hershey and Rascal left me utterly heartbroken.  And yet, just like the other losses I've experienced within my lifetime, the world incredibly carried on as if nothing had happened. Like a river, life continued to flow onward, never-ending.

I decided that I wanted to be part of that magnificent flow, be it calm or turbulent - I wanted a new adventure!

Except for a few hiccups, like the airline damaging two wheels on my commode chair and getting into an argument with the manager of the flat on the first day, England was brilliant!

I went to the Tate and Portrait galleries, both of which were fantastic - and free! Even on a dull, overcast day, the view from the London Eye didn't disappoint.

As I was going along the Ripper Walk I couldn't help but think that perhaps I should have been a CSI detective. Tales of blood and gore don't faze me, neither did the gruesome photos that the guide passed around. My only thoughts were: Why/how could this person commit such deeply warped and horrendous acts?  Who was Jack the Ripper? Would anyone know for sure?

I wish that I could go back in time, follow the clues and solve the case.

The PARALLAX Art Fair was amazing!  There were so many other artists there, all with cool and different styles.  I made a few friends and connections here.  One person was from Spain and had a 17 year old son who had Cerebral Palsy. We chatted for a bit and said we'd keep in touch.

I didn't sell any paintings, unfortunately, but I sold a lot of cards and prints. So, that was good!  My customers had many complimentary things to say about my art.  That made me happy. No, more than happy .... Of course, I've received praise for my art before throughout the years.  However, somehow this was different.  The customers at the art fair saw the hard work that had obviously gone into my art.  Sure, a lot of people said the usual things when they saw my body of work:  Your work is so beautiful;  I love your cats; Congratulations on your talent!  Some people, however, went further, saying that they liked the fluidity and depth of  my paintings, and could see how my process had evolved.  There were even a few who told me that they thought my artwork was the best of all of the other art on display.  Perhaps that was going too far ... Still, I felt truly valued and respected as an artist

All in all, I had a fantastic time in London, England - and I yearn to go back!

Maybe next year for my 60th birthday!




Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Trip to England in Photos


From July 17th to July 25th, I went on a journey to and from London, England with five of my friends. These are the photos we took on that trip.

In my next blog post I'll give a more detailed account with actual words.

Me at airport, going to London, England.

Snacking before flight.
Fake Flower in Flat

Tower of London Burger

Sitting in Soho Square, just like I did nine years ago ....

Sitting with Charles II in Soho Square, just like I did nine years ago ....
I love this bench and the song ... they bring back such bittersweet memories of nine years ago ...

Me at the Tate

I wonder if my friend Leon knows about this place. The food's yummy!
Pondering the past existence of Anne Boleyn.

Cool new shoes from Irregular Choice.

Cool new outfit!

Selling my art at the PARALLAX Art Fair. #1

Selling my art at the PARALLAX Art Fair. #2
One of my customers.
My dear friend Roger.

Inflatable wig!

Cool wigs from Tiger!


Beautiful rainbow!

Steak, Yorkshire Pudding, and Guiness

Outside of Paul McCartney's home/studio.

View from London Eye.

Morning preparing to go back to Toronto.

Back at Toronto airport.
I love my friends!