“She wakes up each morning feeling like she has nothing to do. No routine. No purpose.”

Lisa Genova:   ‘Love Anthony’

I read these words this morning and thought, that is exactly ME. That is me when I wake without that feeling of excitement about hurrying to a sewing, writing or art project, or without an appointment, or wanting to return to a novel that is drawing me with the power of the tide.

I do enjoy sitting, apparently doing nothing, but my mind has to be engaged in creative thought for me to relax.

I keep a pile of six to eight library books on hand to alleviate the desolate feeling of nothing-to-do. Mind you, there is always housework or organizing a closet or room, but at this stage of my life – been there, done that.

Our journey thro this life is tumultuous with its constant ups and downs, its real or imagined slights. We all barter, in one way or another, to maintain a relatively consistent feeling of well being.

I thrive on passion – for opportunity, creativity, my family.

The alternative to feeling purposeful is, for me, depression. So, in order to ward off that monster, I always have a multitude of projects on the go.

Early in my marriage, it was one project only – needlework. Then I needed a new interest and, for a few decades, it was researching and publishing our genealogy. With that completed, I felt lost, until my creative juices latched onto sketching with pen and painting in watercolour. Florals are my thing.

Gradually, after several years, I began to feel I had said all I could in that media. My search was on for new artistic horizons.

I don’t know if it is because I am now in my early 70’s, but I now seem to flit from one project to another. Whatever it is, I am artistically all over the place – a true jack of all trades, master of none.

But there is nothing as satisfying and addictive as waking to a passionate urge to create.

That is what keeps my juices flowing and keeps me loving my life.

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. LIFE STAGES * Adapting & Evolving .

I am evolving yet again – another new phase is beginning in my life. And I love the excitement, the adrenaline pumping that comes with embarking on new experiences.

I have bought a new sewing machine as well as quilting fabric enough for a couple of small quilts or tablecloths. No traditional quilts for me. I will do each freestyle, contemporary. I don’t ‘do’ patterns – not in my knitting, not in my quilting. I plan to let my artistic muse guide me (wish me good luck with that) and eventually attempt to create Stitch Art.

Ideas are buzzing around in my head. I feel so pumped. I can hardly wait to begin.

“Life is funny, always rearranging itself.

No yardstick, or quilt ruler, by which to denote the alterations ….”

Anna Scott Graham

Did I mention … this will be the very first sewing I have done in 35-40 years?!

My Quilted Card Table Cloth ca 1975
My Quilted Card-Table Cloth, ca 1975

Each fabric in this table-cloth brings back precious memories ….

. the pastel pink paisley & the tiny pale green polka dot were from beautiful cotton dresses my mother sewed for my first two wee daughters, Caroline and Stephanie. My third daughter Joanna wore the adorable hand-me-downs.

. the deep green I used to make a halter top that tied at the back of neck and waist, leaving my back open. I made matching palazzo pants (remember those?) in a green/cream houndstooth check. I remember feeling very elegant and on trend wearing that ensemble!

. the gorgeous pink floral I remember loving to bits, but I cannot for the life of me recall what I bought that fabric for.

But, back to the present … before I can begin to play with my new Pfaff, I have to finish organizing my art/writing/journaling/knitting room to become my sewing/art/ ….. room. And what a chore – sooooo much stuff.


organizational plan - just the tip of the iceberg
organizational plan – just the ‘tip of the iceberg’

Step 1 – declutter & re-arrange furniture

Step 2 – buy, prime, paint and install peg board. My husband Greg did the installation, with me placing and holding.

Peg Board Prep
My Peg Board Prep

Tomorrow is the big day when my life will take on some order. I have bribed friends Kay and Janis with lunch and wine, to spend the day advising me on organizing my mess. They are the experts – both have amazingly organized craft/sewing rooms – take a peek

Kay's Craft/Sewing Room
Kay’s gorgeous, functional Craft/Sewing Room
Janis & Kay in Janis' craft room where there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place
Janis & Kay in Janis’ craft room where there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place

Next post I will show you what we accomplish in my room.

Wish me luck tomorrow. Cheers!

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BE WITH ME, UNDERSTAND ME . a note for my children, my grandchildren . Journal (a reblog) .


Be with me … Understand me
Be with me … Understand me


 My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way … remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you … my darling daughter.


Original text in Spanish and photo by Guillermo Peña. Translation to English by Sergio Cadena.
Published in AARP January 2013.

This is so very beautiful, I had to post it.

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More of My SKETCHES 2007-9 . Art Journal . “Just Begin!” .



I discovered, while searching through my art supplies, that my sketching was done in about 10 different sketch books. Only one book is full. The remainder have one, two, or several sketches in each. Kind of wish I had stuck to one at a time.

One sketch book had some quotations along the inside cover. Following are the quotes and more sketches representing part of my art journaling, and more than that  …  part of my life journey.


Gill's Winter Garden - 2005
Gill’s Winter Garden – 2005


Wild Bouquet - 2009
Wild Bouquet – 2009


“Art exhibits a passion for discovery.”


(I love this quote, but not sure I have the name correctly)
Door - Cressman Farm Waterloo - 2007
Barn Door – Cressman Farm, Waterloo – 2007


Ruins on Cressman's Farm, Waterloo - 2007
Ruins on Cressman Farm, Waterloo – 2007


“Art doesn’t create, but discovers.”


Ancient Tree, Steph's Front Yard, Glenview Drive, Toronto - 2005
Ancient Tree, Stephanie’s Front Yard, Glenview Avenue, Toronto – 2005


Perspective Tips from artist, Podi Lawrence, Waterloo - 2005
My Sketch of Perspective Tips from artist, Podi Lawrence, Waterloo – 2005


“You don’t have to be able to draw, to be a good artist.”


I apologize for not crediting the quote, but for sure it was one of the artists from whom I took a workshop.

Another artist advised any who wanted to produce art –

“Don’t look. Really see.”

I think that advice helped me more than almost any other to develop as I have. I am still very insecure about my artistic ability, especially when I compare myself to artists with formal training, or artists with innate skill.

But art has opened my eyes. I see the world as tho’ magnified.

Art is meditative – when you begin to focus on your subject, really see it in detail; plan your composition and colours, the rest of the world disappears.

It provides such a sense of accomplishment. I encourage those of you who thought you would like to sketch or paint – just begin! I did, on impulse, ten years ago, having NEVER painted or drawn a thing in my life …

One of my very first Plein Air Sketches - Stone Ruins, Rockwood Conservation Area - 2004
One of my very first Plein Air Sketches – Stone Ruins, Rockwood Conservation Area – 2004


I will never be one of the world’s great artists, but that is not my goal. I wake each morning with a sense of passion for art, writing, life. That is enough.

I hope all my Canadian readers have a fabulous May 2/4 weekend!

Until next time … more sketches to follow. I hope you enjoy.

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BODY SPIRIT MIND . ‘Decades’ . My 60’s .



Many of us use artificial stimulants to help get our minds moving in the mornings. My oversized cup of dark roast coffee is a definite requirement for me as I begin my day.

For the past few decades I have prided myself on being able to brush my teeth, shower, dress and be out the door in ten minutes. That phase of my life is long gone. I am falling apart.

I am not complaining. I am simply recording my journey. Neither my stoic mother, nor my maternal grandmother complained, and I try not to. But because they did not, I was shocked and ill prepared for the evolution taking place within my body with each successive year. I ignore it and carry on with my art, writing, walking, meetings and fun with family and friends. Life is full. Life is good. I love being alive.

However, not only does my mind wake up slowly some mornings, but it takes my body way too long to become mobile. Even enjoying my first cup of coffee can be a trial. Reaching for a cup, or the coffee tin, lugging a kettle full of water from tap to stove is now often fraught with difficulty as hand, elbow or shoulder joints do not respond to the brain’s command. Now I have to work through stiffness and pain to accomplish morning tasks. More so when osteoarthritis is in an acute inflammatory period, when suffering and stiffness may extend throughout the day, for weeks or even months.

And I tell myself: “Arthritis is not fatal. It is not cancer. Other people have problems much worse than I. So, get on with it.”

When the inflammation subsides, normal activities resume. Fabulous! There may, or may not be, some lingering or permanent restriction, such as a joint less limber than it previously was. But mostly, the arthritis is completely manageable.

Another shocking change is in bowl habits. For decades, my evacuations were difficult to accomplish – days feeling bloated and no action (I know … too much information!  But, read on, after all, it is a normal bodily function). Scurries to the bathroom, clenched gluteals and teeth, unzipping my trousers en route has replaced the previous bowl scenario! Apparently this is one of the side effects of my daily medication. In a perverse sort of way, it is a joy not being bunged up and bloated day in and day out.

Our spirit at any age, requires gentle cultivation and tending. We must make time for our own thoughts, wishes, dreams. So, I selfishly take time to create moments of joy, inspiration, a sense of accomplishment, with no guilt. This is not new. I have always taken time for myself. Self preservation demanded it. Feeding our spirit is as essential as feeding our minds and our bodies. My mantra has long been no guilt, no regrets  … unless you have trampled on another person’s spirit. When you do something of which you are not proud, apologize sincerely. Then, it can become a part of the past. It is behind you. Move on.

I seldom book early morning appointments now because, until recently, I was waking between two and five A.M., I mean wide-eyed awake for two or three hours. All that lost sleep caused slower than usual mornings. This regular waking during the night is common in we peri or post menopausal women. Another treat for you young un’s to look forward to. Dr. Oz recently informed his TV audience that we could enjoy a ‘restorative sleep’ with 5-HTP, a natural product found in any pharmacy or health food store. It works. Thank you, Dr. Oz.

Still, it takes me an hour to get out the door in the morning (unless I simply exit in my pj’s). Part of this may be explained by the fact that I no longer have to rush around like a mad woman, multi-tasking ad infinitum, or because of occasional interrupted sleep. Fortunately, I now have the luxury of patiently awaiting the awaking of my mind, my body and spirit with my enormous mug of dark roast coffee. I allow time for joints to limber up and for the mental cobwebs to gradually dissipate.

Speaking of cobwebs … only this morning I mistakenly poured whole coffee beans into my Bodum!  Whhooooops!  Then, after I ground the beans, I proceeded to scoop the grinds into my cup rather than into the Bodum. A more pathetic than usual start to my day! Just distracted, I tell myself. Not paying attention to what I am doing. The thing is, these functions should be automatic. Shouldn’t they? Once again, I reassure myself with the thought that my friends and even my husband are experiencing a similar embarrassment of dysfunction. All you young 40ish and 50ish whippersnappers, just you wait.

I used to worry about the increasing limitations age was placing on me, but my friends all suffer the same nonsense. We laughingly share our silly experiences more to convince ourselves of the normality of all this, than to whine. This tactic of laughter and communal reassurance, reduces our worry that dementia may be creeping in through the back gate. Now, I watch, quietly observing others in my generation to see if this is, in fact, a shared trait. And it seems to be.

The media medical wizard, Dr. Oz, informed the world that the most prevalent beginning symptom of Alzheimer’s is a repeating, over and over, of the same comment or instruction or thought, with no awareness of having done so. I think I am OK for the time being because I don’t do that.

Do I?


INUKSUK SOLILOQUY . ‘Decades’ . Poetry .

Inuksuk on rockface along Highway 400 N in the Muskokas.
Inuksuks on rockface along Highway 400 N in the Muskokas.

Inuksuk Soliloquy

By                                                                                                                                             Linda Robertson Paupst

Weighted against wind, she stands alone



Pointing the way

To lost hearts.

A voice in the wilderness

She breathes comfort

humanity …

I too have passed here. You are not the first.


And smile with me.

Image 1

Photo:  Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy