Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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DIY?? Not this girl

I thought I could do it, I really did.  Our kitchen sink tap was dripping badly.  All I had to do was replace a washer in the hot water tap of the kitchen sink.  I watched a few YouTube videos, thought, okay, that’s not exactly rocket surgery, so I went and bought some washers at Totem on my coffee break… then last night …

Step 1 – tried to turn off the water under the sink, um, knobs were solid (this house is 50 years old and while the sink isn’t original I’m sure it is not of the last few decades.)  I had to get a monkey wrench to get the hot turned off and it was a real struggle.

Step 2 – took apart the cold water tap, easy.  Then got to the part where  on the video the thingy pulled out and you pull off the old washer… um, this isn’t set-up like that, I have to get the whole assembly off to get at it… so…

Step 3 – start to take apart the hot water tap… got the top off, unscrewed, take off the knob, then  try to unscrew the brass fitting… um, nope… appeared fused… the brass is coming off in shavings as I try to use the monkey wrench to shift it AND the whole thing is turning around when I do manage to torque it… SHITE.

By now I am sweating like a pig and getting really tempted to let an F-word loose.

Step 4 – SCREW IT.

Step 5 – Reassemble both taps.  Turn the water back on… Hot water sprays out from around the fittings!!!!  SHITE SHITE SHITE.

Step 6 – Get the taps under the sink turned off as fast as I can, clean up the water… take them apart again.

Step 7 – Go find the card of the plumber that was here for our bathroom repair, call him.  Someone else answers phone, he retired and left town.  BUT the guy who answered is a plumber and will be here this morning with a new tap assembly to replace and repair…



Tired… sunburned… and pleased

Today was the first of five photo shoots I’m working on with Don Zwicker (the photographer who took the Zombie photos here.)

The model arrived at my place shortly before 7 a.m. this morning – I applied prosthetics, did her hair and make-up and then Don arrived around 7:45 with accessories and additional costume parts.  She had her own costume and footwear to wear.

Don then went to wait for us at the south Timmy’s.  I finished up, then loaded up mom into the RAV4, the model hopped in and off we went to meet the rest of the crew.  Don had recruited two others to assist him.

We then hit the road.  South on Highway 40 to Sulphur Gates … I forgot my camera… yeah, I know, stupid.  Here is a LINK to some photos of the place we were at.

It was a two-hour drive and a bit to get there – two hours on the highway with no traffic at all, then 7 kilometres up a gravel road to the staging area.  We parked there (after I drove up right beside the outhouse for mom to relieve herself) and then carried the gear up the path to the area Don wanted to use.  Mom stayed in the car with her water, her reader, a bag of chips and the radio on.  I told her to lock the door so the bears wouldn’t get in.

Don disregarded the “UNSAFE AREA, DO NOT LEAVE THE MARKED TRAILS” warning signs and had the model and his two assistants on rocky outcrops over steep cliffs while he hopped from one mound of rocks to another over a raging river below… I stayed behind the railing.  I swear that man is part mountain goat.

It has been raining heavily up here the last few days and was VERY overcast.  We drove through rain, in and out, all the way there. I had my jacket in the car but left it there so I hiked up this trail to the site in an Aloha shirt.  Don said I’d need a coat as it would be very windy and be cold… I said I’d be okay.  I was fine.  The wind was intense though.  It was cloudy with occasional bits of sun but generally overcast.  We were out there on the cliffs for two hours… so guess what?

Yep, sunburn… or windburn, either way, I’m very very red… I didn’t wear a hat so my forehead is glowing red, I have a red V on my neck and both forearms are on fire.  I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me that I would be outside for hours, that I should wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt and sunblock… Although Don’s hat did blow away in the wind so a hat may not have been of much use.  But sunblock would have been.  The backs of my hands are getting blistery now too which is how I usually react from exposure to the sun.

The model was a real trooper… she got out there on a bit of rock about a foot wide and posed in wind strong enough to actually lift her up.  They tied a rope around her waist and tied it off to the railing on the path and she clung to the rocks behind her when not actively posing.  She was dressed in rather less than the rest of us and was stuck out on the cliffs in the wind… I could see her shaking with cold from where I was watching from safely on the trail BEHIND the railing.

I have to say that she looked great, the location was awesome and the weather cooperated (it didn’t rain on us while there at all).  We were out there for about two-hours then hiked back to the cars and had some lunch.  I did a bit of touch up to the  make-up and Don took some close-ups in the staging area.

Don then was heading up to another location of Twin Water Falls to take more shots, but it was a rougher road up to it and a longer hike on rougher ground without any facilities so at that point mom and I left them and headed home.

We got home about 4:30 after stopping to fill the gas tank…  Which Don reimbursed me for immediately when he dropped the model off to get the prosthetics removed.

The model said that she had a great time and if I ever needed anyone for body painting or project to let her know.  She was great and she has been early for EVERY meeting and appointment we’ve had on this project… which is very rare in the realm of models.  So I have another great model to add to my “collection”!

As this is all for a project of Don’s I can’t post any photos until it is all finished which will be towards the end of September – we do have four other shoots to do.  And I can’t describe the make-up or costumes in detail either… But come September I will post LOTS!!!!

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I’m getting the hang of this computer

It is taking time, but I am getting this new computer figured out.  I didn’t think there was a photo editor but I discovered one so I was able to edit the photos I took of my display.

This is my Fast Faces display board which I had up when I was painting at the local Cineplex Odeon a couple of weeks back.  I put it together a few years ago when I had a couple major clients ask if I could speed up the painting to handle very high volume events (I blogged about it here.)

I made it myself using one of those science project foam core display boards you can buy at Staples and other office supply stores.  I hunted all over town for fabric that velcro would stick to – I went EVERYWHERE… finally found it at [gasp] the evil empire (aka Wal-Mart).   I think I was being followed as I kept whipping out my velcro to “test” various fabrics!

I also bought some complimentary fabric to use on the board – it was multicoloured butterflies with glitter!!  I used strips of this fabric to trim signs that I then laminated to put on the board.

I then cut the fabric to cover the board, notched the corners and cut out the excess to allow for flat fold overs and adhered it with a spray on adhesive, then sealed the edges with turquoise duct tape.  I reinforced the edges and folds in back with the duct tape too.

I sorted through all my photos to get a selection of ones that I know could paint in under four minutes and then ended up painting myself 17 times on a Sunday afternoon to get more fast designs to use in this display.

The information on this display is placed at the top for the parents and older kids to read, the photos are on the bottom so all the kids can see them.  From the top left going clockwise my signs are as follows: General Disclaimer, event specific Time and Sponsor sign, Title sign with website address, my “Time it Takes” and “Your Decision to Wait” sign, advertising my various other services and contact information,  on the green paper my Age Disclaimer, and finally my Care and Safety flyer with removal instructions, etc. on it.

There are 79 photos on this board… not as many as  on my regular display but more than enough, don’t you think?

Here are photos of the back:

I use acrylic locker mirrors I bought at the dollar store and stagger at different levels so the kids can see themselves without straining.  I post another copy of the time/sponsor sign by the mirrors.

On the back I have mounted some of my press clippings – the parents usually read them while waiting in line.  On the side panel I have one of my body painting postcards, my Advanced Face Certificate and a poster advertising my book for sale.

It is light weight and fairly stable – I use my business card holder and the small acrylic stand to stabilize it a bit in these photos.  It was balancing on two bistro tables and one table wasn’t level.

I use it often now with the high volume events – it is easy to carry and set-up.

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ow ow ow

My dentist had a cancellation yesterday morning so I had a root canal.  This is the third one I’ve ever had done and while it isn’t “fun” I’m not nervous about them.  I don’t remember the last two I had hurting like this one though.  He gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3 – so I got it filled and took one for bed last night.

I still can’t bite down on  that side … and when I accidentally hit the tooth while chewing on the other side of my mouth the pain is intense.  But the really good thing is that the cold/hot sensitivity is gone!!  So hopefully once the bruising and soreness heals up I’ll be able to chew properly.

I remembered to get photos of my Fast Faces display at my Cineplex gig a couple weeks ago but that was when my laptop went klaplewy and I still haven’t got my files moved over to this new computer.  And I discovered that this computer doesn’t appear to have a pre-loaded photo editor… so… will try to get that all figured out.

We’re leaving for the UK on July 1st and I’ve got a photo shoot this Saturday a couple hours south of town in the middle of nowhere and on Sunday will be face painting at a charity walk.  So not a lot of time left to do things before our trip.

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Progress I suppose

I spoke with my WCB Case Manager today and she told me the results of the MRI… apparently there is a partial tear in one of the muscles, but it won’t need surgery thank goodness!  But there is a “treatment program” that will be implemented once I’ve done the “Functional Assessment” at the physio clinic.

I’ve got an appointment near the end of the month but I’m going to see if I can reschedule it for after we get back from our trip, seeing as I won’t be able to start any sort of “program” until we are back from the UK anyway and three weeks will have passed before I can make any appointments.  Seems logical to wait to be assessed then rather than now.

I had a dentist appointment yesterday morning – my back molar was causing a lot of pain.  The filling was replaced, again – apparently it was replaced 18 months ago for the same reason… (my memory is not what it used to be!) this time the dentist put in a white filling which is harder… when he had drilled out he old, er, previous filling, he discovered that the tooth was cracked right across.  He took a photo to show me the crack… looks like another root canal is on the horizon.  He did the filling and if it doesn’t help… So far the tooth is aching but I’ll give it a few more days for the bruising to heal.

I’ve got a gig Saturday at an annual event I do.  It’s been raining pretty much daily lately and the forecast is for it to continue through the weekend – I’ll be in a tent and they will only cancel if the venue cancels on them.

Only 15 more sleeps until we leave for the UK.  Today Air Canada’s strike was settled so we can relax about any problems with that!

I am still “working on” my computers to get everything functioning the way I want.  I am making some progress but still don’t have photos on this one.

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MRI update, computer stress and strikes

So… someone from the Physio clinic (on behalf of WCB)  came to work this morning to assess my workplace and my job. And I have an appointment for a “functional assessment” in a couple of weeks.

The results of the MRI were read to me on the phone by the gal at the physio clinic who booked the appointment – I didn’t understand anything other than osteoarthritis – there is arthritis in the shoulder (my sister told me that when she looked at the scans! She’s a veterinary tech… ) The gal said she could read it to me but could not offer any opinion – so I guess I wait until I see the doctor again to find out exactly what is wrong.

I’m assuming it isn’t torn as no one has said anything about surgery. But the pain is bad again… burning around the socket at the back and my bicep is really bad at times.

Now, onto the next PAIN in my life…

My computer… I bought my Toshiba laptop in April 2007… XP. Lately I get messages from the programs I’m using and the sites I visit telling me that I need to upgrade my browser… so, a week ago I clicked to upgrade to Explorer 8 and all hell broke loose. ARGH!!!

On Thursday I couldn’t log on. All of my profile settings are gone, I get messages that there is “new hardware” – there isn’t, and it is running in a loop of error message and incompatible program warnings.

So, I fire up the OLD computer (bought it in 2004) to get on the net to check my email. I have to use a plug-in antenna to be wireless with this one. It booted up and… I can’t get my security to run and there are A LOT of downloads/updates (I haven’t turned it on for a couple of years!) So I called my ISP and he reset my network settings and we got it running on that old computer… then I told it to update. 47 hours later it finished loading the updates, 8 hours later it finished installing them.

MEANWHILE, on Saturday, I took the laptop to the computer dept I purchased it from to get it looked at. The tech checked it, was able to determine my files were still there and I could get at them, but that there wasn’t anyway to “fix” the problem with losing my profile and settings as it could be anything within it that was corrupted. She got rid of the error messages and new hardware notification so that was helpful. But I still have lost ALL my links, settings and other things… crap.

Basically the computer is old and can’t cope with the new stuff… so I asked what a new one would run. Same size and layout (Toshiba 17″ with full keyboard)… $698. I paid over $1700 for the old laptop.

I asked if the software I currently have would run on the new model – PS CS3 and Office 2007. She thought the Office 2007 would but the PS CS3 probably wouldn’t. [sigh]

She gave me a written quote and I went back to the car with my old laptop. Mom was waiting in the car and we had a brief discussion… end result, I went back in and bought the new one. They were just new in stock. Nice and thin, light, silver and slick… and the screen is brilliant HD, it is like it is backlit!

HOWEVER… I can’t get Office to load, it was an update to my previous Works package, and when I try to load it, it wants the previous version’s disc loaded, so I did, but it tells me that it is not a valid upgrade!! ARGH. I tried to get around it by copying from my external hard drive back-up but it only copies the files, won’t run the program.

My printer is so old there are no drivers available to download anymore (yet I can still buy toner?? WTF??)

I may be forced to purchase a new printer and new Office package – if I want to use this new computer for everything.

So… at the moment I am using the new one for checking email and posting to chats, posting this post, etc. If I want to prepare documents to email I have to do it on the old laptop and use it to email them and/or print them. And all my photos are on the other laptop…

I uninstalled Explorer 8 from the old laptop, so now it is back to Explorer 7 but back to factory settings… I hate having to fiddle around to make things look right again.

I am so annoyed at losing all my links. I had hundreds of bookmarks… a lot of them I don’t think I’ll find again. The ones I used regularly I can Google, but I had all sorts of artist links that I kept when I would run across them – not just make-up related.

Now on to the THIRD pain… Air Canada’s customer service personnel have given strike notice. We are booked on Air Canada for our trip to the UK on July 1st. Mom’s all worried about being able to go on our trip. Great, just great.

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So today I had an MRI done on my shoulder.  WCB flew me to Edmonton to a clinic to have it done.  I was there and back in one day which was great AND got to kill time at West Edmonton Mall while waiting to go back to the airport.

Let me tell you… me and MRI’s are NOT made for each other.

I’m not claustrophobic in the least so being confined in the small tube wasn’t a problem.  BUT cramming substantial me into a foot in diameter tube wasn’t comfortable … at all!!  The tech told me to breathe slowly… huh, right, I couldn’t breathe at all!

My left shoulder was put in a brace to position it to be scanned and they stuffed padding between my arm and body and in my hand to brace it all to keep it still I assume, my right arm and shoulder were jacked up over my chest (this happened as they rolled me up to shove me in the hole) and both shoulders were sort of shoved up around my ears.  They stuck the “panic ball” in my right hand in case I had any trouble… if I’d had any I don’t think I had any leverage to squeeze it!

I was in this… pipe… for about half an hour… breathing occasionally, trying not to move at all as I didn’t want to have to do this again.  There was cool air blowing in (maybe it was oxygen?) that was nice, but my mouth kept drying out and I was trying to NOT swallow while the machine was making noise as it would make me move slightly and possibly blur the image.

When it was over and they (two of them) yanked me out – I honestly heard a loud pop as I cleared the opening!  I was really sore by then.  My left shoulder was killing me and all I wanted to do was flex it but, of course I can’t yet cause it won’t work.

As I was leaving they handed me a CD of the images.  COOL!!!  It is a private clinic so they send a copy to WCB and I get a copy to KEEP!  I can share it with my doctors but they were very clear that it is MINE and the doctors are not to keep it.

I got home and loaded it into my laptop to have a look… um… THAT’S a shoulder?????  MY shoulder?  Looks like a slice of head-cheese.

And why is there a cow head in my shoulder??? A cow head hovering by an ostrich (or is it a t-rex?)

I’m allergic to beef!  No wonder the shoulder won’t work.

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I’m touched

I was surprised at work yesterday with a nice thing.

I’ve face painted at the local MS Walk for… I really don’t remember as it has been for so many years. I think maybe eight years…but it could even be ten.  I do the event every year so I would have to go back through my records to see when the I first invoiced them.

I am paid to work at this event – I give them a generous discount off my regular rate – so haven’t actually volunteered for them.  So this was an unexpected tribute.

They even included a photo of a couple of the kids I painted this year on the certificate which is way cool!  And it is framed and mounted ready to hang.

And they even spelled my name right!!