Monday, August 21, 2017

Sugar Free for September

Everyone has  has been touched by cancer. If they haven't had it yet themselves, they know someone who has, or perhaps a family that has suffered through it along with their loved ones. Right now, I personally know of a few people fighting this disease in one form or another.

I have friends and family who take part in runs, walks and biking events to raise money every year to fight this disease, or help fund a cure. I don't have cancer but I do have arthritis in my hips, knees and feet, so I can't take part in such worthy events. I did, however, just come across something I can do.  It seems the Canadian Cancer Society has created an event that's made for people like me. I've signed up to participate in a Sugar Free September.

I have a friend who has been fighting arthritis for years and she tells me the best thing I could do to reduce the inflammation in my joints would to be to get off sugar.  I'm not sure there is any scientific proof of that working, but I'm about to give it a good test run. I may kill two birds with one stone, and perhaps help save somebody's life at the same time. You can help me by leaving a donation online at

I have at least six social events already lined up for September, so this isn't going to be easy. Maybe some nice person will supply me with a Golden Ticket if they care to donate $20 to this cause. That would give me a day off to just eat normally, treats and all. But any donation would be gratefully received, no matter how small. It would encourage me along the way while a Golden Ticket would actually give me something to look forward to. In the meantime, I'm now going to search out recipes for homemade salad dressings and other things that are sugar free. I expect this to be a real challenge, especially since, as soon as I told my hubby what I was up to, he took me out for ice cream.

This could get interesting.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Getting My Greek On

Greek Fest is going on in Ottawa. In case you didn't know, Greeks are all about food and music. That's what you will find at Greek Fest. Darn good food, and hopefully music, if you happen to land there at the right time. Oh, and if there's music, there is bound to be dancing. It's really hard to keep your feet still when you hear Greek music and Greeks love to dance.There is also some art, and a few vendors, but that really seems to come across as something to look at while you wait for more music, or while you wait for your full tummy to make room for some of those honey balls!

It may not be the most exciting festival you will attend this year, but you aren't going to get a better meal anywhere. Admission is free and so is the parking. There is parking on site, and along Prince of Wales between Baseline and Meadowlands Drive. There is also parking on a few of the back streets too If you go looking for it, watch out for signs that tell you not to park certain places during special events. They really enforce those.

There is a free shuttle service to and from St Pius High School (1481 Fisher Ave) about every 10 minutes. Free parking will also be available (without shuttle service) at the St. John the Baptist Shrine (952 Green Valley Cres.) and the Temple of Israel (1301 Prince of Wales Drive). Please note on August 11th & 18th parking will only be available after 6:30pm.

So why am I telling you about this?  Well, my paternal grandfather came to Canada from Greece.  My Dad may have been half Scottish, and my mother was Scottish from both sides of her family, but that bit of Greek blood I inherited runs deep in my veins, and that's what I identify with. I will tell you I'm Greek and only mention the Scots as an afterthought.

Go get your Greek on. Have a great feed, and get your toes atapping. The festival continues until Sunday. You'll find it at 1315 Prince of Wales Drive.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week one of Urban Sketching

As I mentioned last week, I have just started taking a course on Urban Sketching. One of the things we were supposed to do this week was to go out where there are some people, like an event perhaps, and sketch what we saw. We were to include the people in the drawings, even if they did move a lot. Sometimes they would even leave the scene before you were finished. Like most people, I'm not used to drawing in public. I guess that was the point, as I don't feel the need to hide anymore, even if what I produce isn't fantastic art. Anybody who came to see what I was doing seemed to understand that it's more about the process than the result. It was all a learning exercise, and I really enjoyed my week.

We did some rambling this weekend. Saturday, at one point, we were in the St Laurent Shopping Centre in Ottawa. While I was waiting for my hubby to get his glasses adjusted at Lenscrafters, I had a few moments to do a trial run on my homework. I say trial run as we were supposed to spend more time than I actually had there.

Then, while having lunch at the food court, where I resisted trying to draw, we heard music coming from downstairs. I looked over the rail and discovered that the Ottawa auditions Canadian Idol were underway. After lunch we went down and watched that for a while, and I did a bit more practice sketching.

On Sunday I had the morning to myself and Canalfest was happening down at the Blockhouse Park. I decided that would give me the time and opportunity to do my homework properly.  I sat in the middle seat of the front row and concentrated on the musicians. They could see that I was trying to draw them but it was the wife of one of them that actually came over to see what I was up to. She seemed to like it and wanted to show her friends. That's a bit embarassing but one of them even suggested I send it into the local paper. That's not going to happen! (except my blog gets reposted at Hometown TV12 in Brockville  LOL).

Sunday afternoon I wanted to go check out a Sunflower festival at Krinklewood Farm near Frankville. I expected to get a lot of pictures of fields full of sunflowers, but even though such fields were indicated on the map, there was no sign of them. There were lots of venders though.  The only sunflowers I found were those on the pottery of one of the venders, and in a few vases.

It was a good weekend, and while my Urban Sketches may not be great art, they do represent the things I saw, and I am definitely more comfortable making marks in public.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Art Taught Me a Life Lesson

Urban sketchers are people who draw on location, wherever they happen to be. They document the real world as they find it. Nothing is arranged. This has become such a trend that there is an actual organization for urban sketchers. Their motto is to meet, sketch and share.

Photo by Leyna Sanger
Saturday, 29 July, 2017 was the 56th World Wide Sketch Crawl. People all over the world were taking part in this event. In Ottawa there were three locations listed and times to go there, but I couldn't get there so I took part by going to one of my favorite local spots and trying to capture what I saw. I found two other members of the local Sketch Night in Merrickville group drawing in the same area that day. Actually, the spot was prearranged and it was hoped more of the current 59 members would take part.

I'm finding people are intimidated by drawing where others can see, and even more intimidated by the idea of posting their work online. I frequently post my urban sketches to that group, and others, in hopes that they will see that such sketches don't have to be photo realistic in order to capture the spirit of the place. Many members of this group are very  artistically talented, while I am still struggling to learn. Or, as my grandson said recently, "You can't draw, Nana, but you can sketch."  It is my hope that by sharing my less than perfect renderings some of the others will think, "if she can do it, so can I," and start sharing what they draw too. I know it would only give them more confidence as that's what is happening with me. More confidence means I am likely to draw more often, and the more often I draw, the better I'll get....or so I'm told.

Sketch Night in Merrickville is a new group that formed about a month ago. They gather every Tuesday evening between 7 and 9 pm, usually in the Blockhouse Park. I never would have had the nerve to even think about joining such a group before this year so I'm definitely moving forward.

I first learned about Urban Sketching while taking the online Exploring course through Sketchbook Skool earlier this year. After completing my first assignment along those lines, I was totally hooked. It's very relaxing to just sit somewhere and make my  marks try to line up with what is in front of you. I've learned it's important not to stress over perfection and now I always use a pen to draw with and then I add colour to hopefully distract the eye from my mistakes.  I have recently signed up for another five week course at Sketchbook Skool. This time it's entirely on Urban Sketching. Since I'm having so much fun I want to learn more about the process.

The first lesson was posted Monday morning and one of the points made was that we should find things we don't do well and just get out there and do them anyway. It isn't important if you aren't good at it. It's more important that you are doing it. So many people stop themselves from doing things they believe they aren't good at, even if they really wish they could do them. They will never learn to do those things that interest them if they don't get out there and try. What do you want to do that you have been holding back on.  Go do it! Have some fun!