Strokes of finesse in painting a poem

As part of my lifelong learning activities, I recently attended Sumi-e painting classes.

This was just an introductory level to learning the nuances of preparing one’s ink, wetting the brush and applying just the right pressure when stroking the rice paper.

According to this source, Sumi-e is like “writing a painting” or “painting a poem”. I like that. 

First, our instructor provided us with ample practice time to learn the different strokes, how to correct the ink’s darkness, how to keep the brush tip in the correct shape. She also reminded us about the importance of keeping quiet during the lessons.

After practicing the strokes, we learned the Kanji character for the Moon.

Ink on rice paper calligraphy practice - Moon

Ink on rice paper calligraphy practice – Moon

Now, you will find differing opinions on how the moon character should be drawn. Some say the two horizontal lines should touch the vertical ones on both sides. The way we learned it, they don’t.

Brush and ink practice on rice paper

Brush and ink practice

During the second week’s lesson, we learned how to paint the chrysanthemum, a highly revered flower in China and Japan. Different colours hold different meanings.

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum black ink on rice paper

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum black ink on rice paper

I was tickled and proud to receive the instructor’s stamp of approval.

Despite the late end times and having to wait for buses home, I enjoyed the classes, the opportunity to learn new techniques – and socialize with other students. Hence the instructor reminding us to keep quiet…

Black cat in front of iPad with Sumi-e painting

Mr. Snuggles critiques my first Sumi-e painting

The cats seemed concerned that I was not home in time to serve their soft food dinner and they had to suffer with the bowls of Senior dry bits.

During the third lesson, we learned how to apply colour to our brush (from basic water colours) and blend it in with the black ink – or choose to apply it as a wash.

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum paintin with colour

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum with colour

Once again, I was tickled to receive the instructor’s stamp of approval 🙂

I look forward to practicing at home this fall and winter, perhaps applying some techniques to that children’s book idea that has been simmering, to blend with some of the other illustration attempts.

Cat on couch resting with plants and painting in background

Tabby cat resting on couch with sumi-e painting and plants in the background

Here are many tutorial videos to learn Sumi-e. I appreciated learning with an instructor in a small class. I might just sign up again.

Thanks for dropping by – and not disturbing the Tabby.




Posted in cats, Health and wellness, Hobbies, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

25 years of connecting a community

This past month has brought daily work day commutes, social outings and a stinky, humid heat wave – in September!

My writing activities were limited to journal entries, resume updates, politely stern mail messages and drafting another letter of complaint to a federal agency.

birthday cake and cupcakes for National Capital FreeNet 25

25 Years of connecting a community

Despite the anxieties and resulting stress this month, I pushed myself to attend the 25th birthday party for my community ISP. Those who live in Ottawa may be familiar with the National Capital FreeNet.

Back in the day… we used 9600 Baud modems and two-tone dumb terminals to connect to special interest groups, email and eventually a text version of the world-wide web. With the evolution of graphical web browsers and the support of images, there was soon a proliferation of funny cat pictures and other titillations …

Being a member allowed me the opportunity to expand my web design skills, stay connected with family and friends during tumultuous times, express my thoughts   and share bad poetry.

We graduated to DSL in 2005, soon connecting with all kinds of devices. It was a necessity while accommodating the social needs of teens and tweens living with me at the time.

Black cat at laptop

Cat on lap asks “What’s a Free net?” Book: “aa000: 25 Years of National Capital FreeNet”


I am glad I attended the party, sat through the speeches and bought a copy of the book (to which I made a small contribution). I pushed my social skills to chat with familiar members but left early due to acoustics incompatible to conversations. I also had to get home to feed the >^..^< darlings.

In my haste I forgot to get some birthday cake. I had two pieces the last time I attended one of these parties.

Thanks for dropping by. Keep in touch.


Posted in Books, cats, Computers and Internet, Health and wellness, Organizations, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rainy Sunday Mewsings

It’s a rainy Sunday and I’ve been up since 6:00 a.m.

It was nice to emerge from dreamland to the tapping of rain against the bedroom window. It was mildly unpleasant to be roused by a needy cat.

As I shuffled out to the kitchen and served their breakfast buffet, I reflected on my long weekend Saturday outing to experience the arts, culture and fresh air.

I didn’t turn on the kitchen radio until after the news report would be done. I could not listen to more reports of hardship and assholery so early in the day. I am saddened and concerned about the forest fires and floods. I am angry and concerned about the dick-taters with their sabre rattling and stroking their weapons of phallic destruction.

It’s like we’re given more fodder for the bible thumpers, doom sayers and dystopian novel writers!

I digress, pulled into weltschmerz once again.  Sigh… Let’s return to fond memories of an enjoyable, solo outing.

MosaiCanada150 Mother Earth

MosaiCanada150 in Jacques Cartier Park

Once his stomach was satisfied, Mr. Snuggles supervised as I organized my photos into an album, downloaded the good ones for sharing with family and friends. He even freed my lap for a while so I could concentrate and write about my experience in the Deep Blonde Thoughts blog.

Black cat in front of laptop screen

“‘So, this is what you were doing in the outside world yesterday…”


Black cat with big eyes in front of laptop screen

“Since it’s raining today, you’re going to stay home with me, right?”

Yes, I plan on staying in our hole in a log for domestic putterings, welcoming inspiration and motivation to draw and write.

How about you?


Posted in cats, Computers and Internet, Health and wellness, News and politics, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My great grandchildren will not be white

That’s a bold prediction from someone so naturally fair of skin and hair.

I am okay with that possibility.

First, I can say that because I have brown offspring from a mixed marriage. In my eyes and their doting Aunties’, these children were beautiful, intelligent and well-behaved.

I was often oblivious to the colour of my children’s skin yet experienced some strange looks and comments when we were out in public. The most humorous and innocent was when a child at the local park asked if I was their babysitter.

Yes, they have met challenges with finding their identity, their place in society. They adapted. They survived. Some of them identify as Black or POC (Person of Colour). None of them have adopted urban stereotypes nor have they been in trouble with the law.

To me, they are beautiful humans, the next generation. I raised them to be positive contributors to their community and to society. They know how to speak up when they see injustices. They too will make beautiful babies if they so choose or can afford to raise a family in this precarious economy.

Continue reading at

I share the anger and disbelief with what’s going on, being spouted by POTUS after the Charlottesville incident. But here I am, challenging my agoraphobia tendencies, my anxieties while enjoying my quiet comforts and white privilege in Canada. I am living, learning and trying to write it down. 

Thanks for dropping by.




Posted in Health and wellness, News and politics, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Paying your kids to move out

I recently helped pay moving out expenses for one of my offspring.

Some Canadian parents are willing to pay their young adult children to stay away from the nest for good.

“A poll by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce says parents are willing to pay their adult children thousands of dollars, if that’s what it takes to get them to leave home.

The CIBC Gifting Poll, conducted in late June, finds that 76 per cent of parents with a child 18 years or older still living at home are willing to provide cash to help their kids move out, marry or move in with a partner.”

FP article: 

The cats are pleased to have access to the spare bedroom, formerly known as “the forbidden zone of the moody artiste”.

Miss Tabby likes to lie in the middle of the floor or scratch at sun spots on the wall. The Old Boy likes having access to the play tunnels. They both seem to like the sound of their voices, their caterwauls echoing off the bare walls. The latter leads me to eventually shoo them out and close the door!

Cats enjoying the empty room

Cats enjoying the empty room

I advised them not to get used to this because one of the fledglings will return to the nest soon.

Bedroom with minimal furniture

Bedroom with minimal furniture

I will be glad to have him back. Also, I can’t afford to help him stay away.

Thanks for dropping by.


Posted in cats, Health and wellness, Pets, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Walk the talk for Indigenous Spirituality

I will take time off from my professional, working life to join this walk on June 23rd. You can too.


Florence T Lyon

A kind and gentle soul can become frustrated by the empty talk from politicians about Canada 150, reconciliation and healing for the Indigenous people.

For years, groups of Indigenous people, settler descendants and faith leaders have been drawing attention to a sacred place in the middle of the Ottawa River, right here in Canada’s capital. They want the various levels of government to live up to a promise to return the waterfalls and islands to a place of worship.

No more commercial development. No condos!

“The capital city’s historic and magnificent Ottawa River, Chaudière Falls, and the three islands downstream can support Canada’s emergence as a nation that respects Indigenous values and cultures, and showcases them to the world. It is time to bring an honourable vision to fruition.”

Read about the Falls and Islands vision laid out by Algonquin Elder William Commanda and Anishinaabe architect, Douglas Cardinal. 
Read a brief

View original post 71 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Little jot cards get around

Just when we thought I couldn’t find a smaller jot journal…

I received a bag of nifty little key ring language card packs as part of the loot I purchased from a local fundraising auction.

The previous owner used to teach English in Japan. Apparently, these STAD cards are popular and handy for writing, learning vocabulary in English and Japanese. There are places you can buy these online. Don’t ask me to convert the currency tho. 

STAD Word's World Language keyring cards

STAD Word’s World Language cards re-purposed

I gave a couple away to offspring and a workmate. I am re-purposing one as a purse-sized jot notes media. I have called the first collection “Little Blonde Jots”, which are low-tech affirmations or observations written in pen and maybe later enhanced with some illumination – or Crayola markers.  These will be much briefer than entries in the Deep Blonde Thoughts blog.

Let’s see how long this lasts…

As an international detour while searching, I tripped upon an interesting news link about Norway’s plans to build the world’s biggest shipping tunnel in Stad. That’s pretty cool!

On a related note, soon I will travel to the shores of one of our Great Lakes for a boat cruise, to get caught up with family members who are travelling from their current home and workplace in Norway. Small world. Thank you, Internet!

Thanks for dropping by. What low-tech tools are you using to capture thoughts, observations and inspirations?


Posted in Health and wellness, Hobbies, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment