Shannon Fennell's Blog

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


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Support for Ukraine

It is really hard to sit here in comfort and safety while watching and hearing what is happening to Ukraine and the Ukrainians fleeing for safety.

I did make a cash donation but it felt like there was no effort involved, if you know what I mean?

So this week in the studio I’ve been making glass mosaic sunflower pictures and items and we are auctioning them off to raise money for the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.

We’ve got the first framed fused glass picture up on auction right now until Friday, March 11 at 4 p.m. GMT. Bidding and details are on Serendipity Glass Design’s FB Page at Serendipity Glass Design.

I’ve got another, larger, one finished and we’ll be posting the auction for that one on Wednesday.

And I’ve started making smaller items – small pictures, standing glass panels/tealights, suncatchers, coasters, and keychains – which will be for sale in the shop and online once they’re finished and fired.

The effort to physically produce these pieces makes me feel like I am doing something. The work of cutting and laying the glass gives me a feeling of satisfaction and a fair amount of back pain to work through. I ripped all the skin off the inside of my right thumb snipping glass and required four bandages for pokes and cuts – my one day record – yesterday.

My discomfort in no way resembles what the people of Ukraine are suffering – I cry a lot watching the news or doom-scrolling on Twitter. I have stopped turning on the news as soon as I wake up in the morning as I am scared to hear what the latest developments are. I catch up later in the day.

I hope you can check out the auction for my sunflower art on the link Serendipity Glass Design and share it with your friends and followers. Any support is appreciated.


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2022 isn’t doing so well

I had high hopes for things taking an upswing in 2022, after two years of lockdowns and everything else, but here we are in a right fine mess.

I sent a donation to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders – the link will take you to their page on their Ukraine programs. We have donated to this organization for many years, as well as to the Red Cross. If you can, please donate to organizations who are providing support to the Ukrainian people.

Sunflowers for Ukraine

As we live next to a naval base with nuclear subs, I’m not too stressed – if the nukes fly we’ll probably not even feel it – instant vapourization, thankfully. I’m not keen on trying to survive a nuclear winter in a post-apocalyptic world.

In other news… it is Spring. Daffodils and snowdrops everywhere and I’m starting to see flying bugs now too.

In the glass studio I finished my first clock – it is on a 12″ transparent base and is a rose trellis. I’m happy with it! It is on the living room wall now.

For the last several weeks I’ve been making thousands of glass “dots” to use in work I’m planning to start soon. I figure that the more I make now, while sorting out scrap and bits of random frit (glass crumbles,) the less time I will have to spend making them later when I start making Christmas decorations again. It is time consuming and bending over the kiln to put the tiny bits of glass in, then pick them out again the next morning is killing my back… but, no one said art wouldn’t hurt! LOL

We’re two months into the year so it looks like it will pass quickly for me again. I’ve been in the UK for six months now, but it honestly feels like I’ve been here a lot longer. I am loving it here (except for the Covid and war in Europe, of course!)

My long term plan was to travel all over Europe using the UK as my base, but that was before we entered the pandemic. Now I’m thinking I’ll travel west – Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Ireland and Iceland and explore up and down Great Britain – once I’m comfortable with the idea. I’m still not comfortable with crowds and unmasked people. Still have my mask on outside the house.

Stay safe.


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What was done in ’21

Here is to wishing everyone a better 2022!

So far… it is okay. Betty White died yesterday on December 31, 2021 – so at least we aren’t going to blame 2022 for that.

Another year that seemed to be longer than it really was is now over. I really am hoping this pattern will end soon. Time is supposed to go by faster than this.

I have to look back at my posts on social media and in my day-timer to remember what actually happened. Parts of the year seem to be many years ago rather than just months.

2021 was both a drag and exciting. In no particular order (I tried to be chronological but it got messed up!) these are the highlights.

  • My final semester started in full lock-down in January – we were 100% online until mid-term.
  • In February I was notified that I was the recipient of the 2020 Sabat Family Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Fine Art ($1,000) by Durham College.
  • My midterm marks were 91%, 97%, 98%, 100% and 100%.
  • I received offers from three schools to complete a degree in Fine Art
    • from IT Sligo in Ireland (which is now becoming Atlantic Technological University) for a BA (Hons) at the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design & Architecture. This is a one-year (Sept to May) add-on to get the degree – they gave me credit for three years advanced placement.
    • from the Arts University of Bournemouth in the UK for a MA Fine Art. This is a 12-month program full-time. They also awarded me a £5,000 bursary for tuition. (They suggested the MA, bypassing the BA, due to my three year advanced diploma and over 20 year career in the arts!)
    • from Plymouth College of Art in the UK. Their offer was for a BA (Hons) but they would only gave me credit for one year so I would have to complete a minimum of two more years with them to get their degree – I declined this offer outright.
  • I applied for the Government of Ireland – International Education Scholarship and was notified I was a finalist for consideration.
  • I deferred the offers to 2022 as I didn’t want to continue in the pandemic caused “hybrid learning models” that post secondary institutions were/are operating on. It is a lot of money to attend school as an international student and I don’t enjoy online learning models.
  • Was able to get back into the campus studio mid-February to continue working on my Fine Art thesis project – I spent on average four days a week there!
  • I had three works in the Annual All-Student Juried Show at the Station Gallery in Whitby, ON which ran for the month of April. It was limited attendance due to the pandemic restrictions.
  • I was nominated (one of three students from our program) to represent Durham College’s Fine Art program in the national BMO 1st ART! 2021 art competition. The nominated work was my thesis project so I had to install it in the college studio to get photographs for the competition submission by the May 15th deadline.
  • April 16th was the last day of classes – my last official day of my Fine Arts – Advanced Diploma. I, however, continued to work on my thesis in the studio until June!
  • April 16th was also the day I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine!
  • My final grades for my last semester at Durham College were 93%, 97%, 99%, 100% and 100%. Out of seven semesters I had four with GPAs of 5.0. My overage GPA was 4.98.
  • End of April we were back in full lockdown.
  • Received my credentials from Durham College in the mail. My diploma was sent in a cardboard mailer with a form letter. Pretty anticlimactic really. Ontario Colleges Diploma in Fine Art – Advanced, with Honours, from Durham College. On the President’s Honour Roll and College Honour Roll.
  • Finalized my thesis project and installed it in the studio on campus. As we were not going to have an actual gallery show due to the pandemic, I created a dedicated blog for my thesis – “Anthropocene of the Crime.” I put a lot of work into the project and not being able to have people interact with it in person was a huge disappointment – the blog at least lets me share that research and the 58 individual paintings that are part of the project, representing 60 threatened species. You can check out that blog here Anthropocene of the Crime.
  • June 14th we had our virtual show and artists’ talks with the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa in lieu of our Annual Grad Show. It was a live event -they now seem to have removed the links from their website which is a bummer, but it is still up on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nEaRwXsthU my segment starts at 57:07.
  • I applied for a UK Ancestry Visa (I’ve been planning to move to the UK since 2015 but got delayed due to various life events) and received it within a week of the in-person appointment at the Visa office in early July.
  • Received my second dose of Pfizer on June 28th!
  • Spent all spring and summer downsizing my life – selling and donating belongings, selling as much art as possible, scanning and tossing paperwork – in anticipation of having my entire life fit in three large suitcases (plus carry-on luggage.)
  • Sold most of my thesis paintings – kept three for myself which are in my room. My favourite ones, that I had been planning to keep, sold right away – which is because they were the BEST ones!
  • Booked and attended appointments in anticipation of leaving the country at the end of August. My flight was booked for August 26th. There were lots of medical and other things to deal with before leaving!
  • I left Canada from Pearson International in Toronto on August 26th and arrived at Heathrow, London around 10:30 a.m. on August 27th. I then quarantined for 10 days and two negative PCR tests. I’m living with friends in Plymouth, England.
  • We went on a week holiday to Yorkshire in September staying in a gorgeous cottage – we took daytrips to York, Bridlington, Harrowgate, Harewood House, the Wensleydale Cheese Factory, Bolton Castle, etc. Traffic was manic on the motorways – should only have taken 5 hours to drive there, but it took 11!
  • Got on with a surgery in Plymouth (that’s a doctor’s office if you aren’t English!) and got referred to Ophthalmology for my eyes. I am VERY impressed with the NHS. I’ve had two treatments in each eye to-date, with another already scheduled have been waitlisted for surgery prior to them switching treatments…
  • I’m working with Anne in her glass studio and having a load of fun creating all the fused glass Christmas ornaments for the shop and how starting on spring themed items. Current project is a clock with a rose trellis on it.
  • Got my booster shot on December 14th – this one was Moderna.
  • And I’ve just received my unconditional offer letter from IT Sligo for the one-year add-on for a BA (Hons) in Fine Art for September 2022 start. I’m not sure about what my final decision is going to be about going for the degree… the pandemic has messed up my timeline and caused a major rethink of my goals in that regard. I’ve got until March to let them know.
“Birds on a Wire” one of the works in the April 2021 show at the Stations Art Gallery.
Final finished thesis project “Anthropocene of the Crime” May/June 2021
Harewood House in Yorkshire – they filmed part of the Downton Abbey movie here. It is stunning! September 2021.
Fused glass Christmas ornaments December 2021 (this was early on, more and different items were made as the season progressed.)
Current fused glass project – 10″ diameter clock face which is a rose trellis. December 2021.
The Great Barn at Buckland Abbey. Anne has her glass studio in The Ox Yard there (which is just behind me as I took this photo!) This is a National Trust property in Dartmoor National Park – used to be Sir Francis Drake’s place. October 2021.

All the best to everyone for 2022. Fingers crossed we can get out of this cycle of pandemic variants and get back to free travel and movement!


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Time flies when you’re having fun!

This has been the longest gap between posts on this blog – and I’ve been posting here since 2009! All I can say is that I’ve been busy with new things in a new home in a new country and have completely ignored technology. No mobile phone activity and barely remember that I have a computer – every week to 10 days I may remember to check for email and messages!

I’ve been helping out my friend in her glass studio making Christmas ornaments and playing with fused glass which I enjoy. I’ve done some miniature paintings but most are in progress and had to be packed away due to the table being required for other purposes before I got them finished. I’ll get them done eventually.

I am starting to make bigger things in glass – coasters, clocks, pictures for framing (florals!) and some pure art pieces. I’ve been experimenting with making different types of flowers – testing how hot/long to put them in the kiln for to get the results I want.

I am EXTREMELY impressed with the NHS (National Health Service in the UK). Amazing service and so far very nice and friendly staff/practitioners everywhere I’ve been.

Covid is still booming here… and I’ve continued to wear my mask every time I go anywhere – just shopping and the studio. I won’t go to restaurants, etc. No way will I remove my mask around strangers! The new variant – Omicron – is surging but the Government here is wishy-washy about imposing “rules” it is all “suggestions and recommendations.” Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have imposed strict rules again, but England… phfft.

I got my booster here mid-December – Moderna for the booster (Pfizer for my first two shots.)

I’m enjoying being a dog friend again. Pippa the Morkie took a few weeks to accept me, but when she did… wow! LOL Seems I’m her best bud now. One morning I took her for a walk around 7 a.m. The next morning she was waiting outside my bedroom door at 7 a.m. I can’t move around my room to dress when I wake or she’s at the door whimpering softly in the mornings.

The weather is warm, not what I am used to for the end of December! We’re at 14C-ish for daily highs! Rainy and windy – we are right on the water here so it can be pretty intense with storms and tidal surges.

I’ve been binging on documentaries this week – mostly about Ancient Egypt. Lots of new information from 2018 and later! It has been awhile since I’ve got new information.

I got one of my diptychs framed – loved how they turned out! They are now up in the living room (aka lounge).

Suffrage & Suffering

When we drive out to the studio we are driving through Dartmoor National Park – sheep and ponies everywhere! One day the ponies surrounded us, blocking us on the road… took a few minutes before they moved to let us go… people feed them from their cars (which is ILLEGAL!!) so I guess they were looking for something.

The lanes here are scary! When you meet oncoming traffic one of you has to back-up to a spot wide enough to pass… Luckily Anne knows all the spots! And at night… !? Forget about it!

I’ve decided, at least for now, that I am not interested in driving over here! Too stressful just being a passenger! Wrong side of the road, narrow lanes, hedgerows you can’t see over/around. Since the last time I was here in 2011 the size of the vehicles on the road has increased substantially! Back then and earlier, it was rare to see a pick-up truck or full-sized SUV anywhere – just the occasional Land Rover on stately estates, etc. The parking spots and roads are NOT designed for the larger vehicles which makes parking at the grocery store somewhat challenging at times!

I’m going to try to get my annual “year in review” post up this weekend. Hard to believe another whole year has passed, particularly seeing as it really wasn’t much better than the previous year due to the pandemic, but I did realize/complete several milestones/important things!


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Cor blimey, I’m in England!

First chance to post here. Taking a day to chill and just rest finally. Just me and the dog in the house today.

Last Thursday (Aug 26th) I left Canada, and headed off to the airport to fly to the UK. It was a long term (6 year) plan which had been delayed along the way due to life events. I decided I wasn’t going to delay it any longer! I figured trying to wait the Pandemic out was going to take longer than I wanted to wait.

I had to take a flight with one layover due to changing my departure date and not being able to get the direct flight for the date I wanted to leave. That made the trip a lot longer – 11.5 vs 6.5 hours! And to top that off, we had an over two hour delay in Montreal! The agent announced the delay and told us it was because the plane had been upgraded and the assigned crew was not qualified on the new equipment, so they had to call up a crew and fly them there from Toronto! So the flight ended up being close to 14 hours. Add in the early arrival at the airport, and the queues at Heathrow, the trip took 18.5 or so hours in total to exit the airport on arrival.

I was able to upgrade to Business Class – they had a “sale” on the upgrade. I was happy to pay to be further away from people who were removing their masks to eat and drink! I was triple masked from the time I left home until I was in the parking lot at Heathrow, did NOT remove it at all. So no eating OR drinking until I guzzled a 1500ml bottle of water once we got to the car. I managed to get around 4 hours of sleep on the flight which was great, I felt like I’d had a night’s sleep and was functioning normally. Even woke up the next morning at my normal time of 5 a.m. (in local time!)

I am shocked by the lack of masks over here. No wonder the UK numbers of new cases is skyrocketing. Makes me very nervous. I will, of course, continue to wear masks when I go out anywhere. Which hopefully will be next week!

I’m in quarantine as I flew the Thursday before they announced Canada was moved to the Green List as of Monday, August 30th. So annoyed! I’m at home for 10 days, and have to do a test on Day 2 and Day 8. I haven’t received my results for my Day 2 test yet, and tomorrow is my Day 8. Which I’m a little concerned about. Had to be mailed and my day 2 was a Sunday, and the Monday was a Bank Holiday here… so I’m assuming it was delayed. I can’t leave the house so it was dropped off to be mailed by someone else.

I’m still working my way through all the notifications and address changes – the less important ones, got the important ones done before I left. Have forms that I need to submit to both the Canadian government and financial institutions regarding my residency for tax purposes.

I don’t have a long term plan for this… I’m planning to go where the wind and my whims take me. So more school, work, adventure, moves… who knows, really. It is all going to depend on what is possible to do in this new reality the world is in.

I’m the one in the mask(s)… Anne just caught me in arrivals at Heathrow.


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Pretty sure THIS is my last post from Canada!

I know I said three posts ago that that one was probably my last post from Canada… but it wasn’t. I’m organized, lists made, appointments booked, etc. so to “relax” I write posts.

But I only have three more sleeps until I leave now! So I am pretty sure that this will, for real, be my last post until I am in the UK.

My room is VERY bare – I’ve sold all my personal furnishings and taken at least a dozen loads to donate to the thrift store (by bus) over the last two months. My room is furnished so I am not sitting on the floor!

Tomorrow I go for my PCR test (required 72 hours prior to arrival in the UK). That is making me nervous. I’ve been taking strict precautions, but if I happen to test positive what the hell am I going to do? My lease is up this Friday, they have already rented it for September. Where would I go to wait out a quarantine and further tests? The cost of staying in a hotel for two weeks… NOT in my budget, but that would be the only alternative. Changing the flight is not an issue thankfully and my entry visa is good for 90 days, but…. that is stressing me.

Other than that, I pretty confident everything is under control. I’ve got my spreadsheet of things to do – I’m holding off until I get my test results to do the official address changes. As most, if not all, can be done online, that isn’t a big problem. Most things I get online so getting snail mail isn’t really an issue, and I’ve made arrangements with a roommate in case something does show up in the short term.

I changed my cellphone plan… I’m rather annoyed as it is LESS than my current plan! But, if the phone activates there is a daily roaming fee (only IF the phone pings a tower) that is in effect for 24 hours. So I’ll just plan to do anything I need to use that phone for all on the same day, or connect to the wifi.

I’m packed. But went through my luggage, again, today and probably will again on Wednesday. I am worried about weight – need to make sure I am not over. I don’t know how accurate the scale is, so need to allow a little wiggle room. I weighed everything again, and it all looks good – as long as the scale is right! Also, my carry-on is 25lbs and I haven’t got everything in it! My back pack is over 12lbs. So… all my worldly goods weigh under 200lbs. Does that seem sad to you?

The Big Three… two under 50lbs (barely!) and one over.
The blue things will be in the black things when I’ve finished putting things in them.

For me culling and sorting is a process. I start off with a list of things I really want to keep, then as I start actually sorting to pack, I remove things. I am now at the stage where everything DOES fit in my luggage HOWEVER, the weight… that is a real concern. So now I am taking out things that I do not need, I would like to keep, BUT they are not necessary and don’t actually serve a purpose, so they will go to the thrift store.

How I look at it now is that if my goal is to travel for most of the rest of my life, what is the point of physical objects that are purely decorative or sentimental? Particularly if they don’t mean anything to anyone but me? Why carry them around? Little things that can fit in a pocket are one thing, small furnishings or heavy art objects are really not required. I will take photos or scan things that can be, and that is good for the memory trips if I want to reminisce.

My last run to the thrift store will be Wednesday morning. At that point this room will be like a jail cell, with luggage. Then cleaning and sorting out things for the dumpster. Up very early Thursday to strip the bed, get rid of the mattress pad, eat breakfast, toss left over food, take out all my trash, sort the cleaning supplies, etc. My ride is picking me up at 9:30 am.

It feels like this is happening so fast… but I’ve been planning it since 2015 really, with hiccups along the way, but… FINALLY!!!


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An Artist’s Quandary

Tell me… do you keep ALL your sketchbooks?

I mean, every single one you’ve ever used? Or just the ones with good stuff or important things you want to follow-up on?

It seems to be a accepted thing that we SHOULD keep them, but how realistic is that?

If you’ve kept yours, do you actually use or refer to them? How are they of value to you 10, 20, 50 years on?

Historically I was keeping most of mine, just because I hated throwing out anything I spent time on – it wasn’t an issue to carry them when we moved (considering my family had 19 bookcases full of books and collectibles, a couple more boxes made no difference!) Most of them weren’t even full. I had some going back to grade school. And lots of random bits of paper with doodles on them that I saved as I thought they were particularly good.

But I had to cull substantially when I sold my house and downsized in 2017. I just kept the pages/drawings that I thought were either good or an idea I wanted to keep. It was sometimes hard, but a lot of what is in a sketchbook was just filler that served no purpose other than to kill time or practise.

I also have a paper fetish so buy new ones just because they are on sale, or I want to try a different paper finish or weight or size. That’s not even all of it on that shelf, the bigger pads are stored elsewhere. This was early this year – that’s all gone, except for a small selection of my preferred sizes that I was able to fit into my luggage.

Bottom shelf, all brand new – there are 37 different items there!

Now, because I am moving to another country with as few things as I possibly can, I’ve gone through everything and scanned work that I want to keep a record of and some process/planning sketches from finished projects and trashed the originals.

Planning sketches for a project 2019

At least with modern technology I can scan or photograph anything I want to – which is making the whole process of destroying my “babies” tolerable even if I still feel bad about it.

It was hard but, sigh, I can’t carry a ton of stuff around that NEVER gets referred to. And really… unless it is a current sketchbook that I am actively working in, it doesn’t get looked at unless I am going through the process of culling.

I don’t think I have EVER actually filled up or used up an entire sketchbook or artist’s pad in my life. I’m close on two currently… one I’m working in and keeping. The other is going to get tossed – I’ve photographed or scanned the parts I want to keep out of it.

These are/were the 2020/21 in use sketchbooks

All this made me wonder… do artists REALLY keep ALL their sketchbooks?


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I’m “normal” now. But don’t worry, I’m still me!

Got the results for my blood letting last week. I’ve been making the rounds of doctors, etc. in preparation for leaving the country – also, my benefit plan from school is good until the end of this month so am getting everything done that I can.

Doctor’s comment: “Everything is excellent!” The results in no way indicate that I was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago. He tested everything and every result was in the normal range!

Of note – my fasting sugars were 4.8 and my A1c was 5.4…. that is NON-DIABETIC.
– For Fasting 3.6 -6.0 is “Normal”
– For A1c under 6.0 is “Non-Diabetic”

I’ve had these numbers since 2016 after going Low Carb for only 4 months. And completely off medication since the beginning of 2019 (after having reduced the dose myself for a year before that) – with no change in my numbers at all. I stopped taking the Metformin without consulting anyone – I was monitoring myself, and the drugs made no difference whether I took them or not at that stage. I just told the doctor I’d stopped about a year after the fact.

So… cut out the sugar and the carbs and things will improve! Diabetes does not have to be progressively debilitating if you change your habits and take away the root cause of your body’s malfunctions which in my case was CARBS. I still wish I had known this information 10 or 20 years earlier as I could have stopped the damages, and lost the weight way earlier in my life, which would have also stopped the wear and tear damage to my joints and back (osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.)

And the really great thing is that the damage from diabetes can actually heal/improve with time in many cases! My only remaining “issue” is my eyes – unfortunately the diabetic retinopathy was so advanced when it was caught (that was how/when I was diagnosed) it is taking a long time to try to control. But I still consider myself lucky that there are treatments for it – my uncle went blind at the age of 19 – he was a Type 1 diabetic in the late 1960s when there was no treatment.

I was diagnosed as Type 2; but Type 1 also have HUGE benefits with Low Carb – I highly recommend Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s book – Diabetes Solution – this is what I followed to fix myself and still strictly follow. Most of the information is available online so you don’t even have to buy the book!

At the time of my diagnosis, which was three days before Christmas in 2015, my doctor simply said, “You’re diabetic” handed me a prescription for Metformin and the equipment (which was covered by my insurance as long as it was prescribed – was an excellent plan!) And that was it. No advice or referrals, nothing.

So I had to do my own research, which… given the state of my eyes was rather urgent. I knew carbs were not “good” for my blood sugar control. Looking at the various diabetes associations’ guidelines and diet plans I was completely disgusted. Sugar, carbs, fruits, three meals and three snacks a day – ALL CONTAINING HIGH CARBS AND REFINED SUGAR. I didn’t know a lot, but I knew that made no sense.

At first I tried to find a “plan” that would work. But if I followed a so-called diabetic meal plan my blood sugar did NOT come down. So I started removing carbs and anything with sugar, completely. I tried to keep fruit – but one bite of banana would spike me 10 points. A small slice of apple about 6 points. I tried to keep some so-called “good carbs” like oatmeal and 100% rye bread – ah, nope! Those would spike me around 8-10 points. I was doing a lot of eat it, then test every 20 minutes for a few weeks. Was interesting to see how things work.

Then I came across Dr. Bernstein’s book online and it was an epiphany! I think I heard angels singing. He has all the pertinent chapters freely available online so I was able to download the information and follow it right away. I did a series of blogs about how I got myself organized back in 2017 – You can read them HERE – that links to the first of the five-part series of “Getting Organized for a LCHF Life Style” that I wrote. They are also listed on my Food Stuff page.

Long story short I now am what is considered “normal” for bloodwork and weight range. I am 200lbs lighter than I was at my heaviest. My knees don’t hurt, I can touch and SEE my toes, and I don’t have to ask for seat belt extensions on airplanes anymore.

1998 vs 2017

I do not miss sugar. I don’t use sweeteners. I can bake cookies, breads, cakes and other desserts without either carbs or sweeteners and they are delicious. There are a multitude of options for protein and vegetables out there for low carb. Cheese is WAY more versatile than you think! And you can make awesome gravy just adding heavy cream to your pan juices or to butter and seasonings and reducing it.

I don’t get hungry all the time or have cravings. As I’m not hungry I do Intermittent Fasting (referred to as IF) which just means I eat nothing for 16-18 hours at a time, any food consumed in only done in the other 6-8 hour window. Many times I only have one meal a day (often referred to as OMAD by some people.)

I read labels – which can be challenging with my eyes not being great. I don’t buy much processed food as it is very difficult to find any without added sugars or carb based fillers (like starches such as bread crumbs) and I don’t like additives either. My goal is to be as low carb as I can possibly be. There are a few brands of sausages and cured meats that only contain meat and spices, but you really have to hunt for them.

This is one of the times where being considered NORMAL is just what I wanted and is an excellent thing to be.


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This could be my final post… from Canada

My visa was approved for the UK and my flight is booked for August 22nd, so if I keep to my first of the month posting schedule my September post will be made from Plymouth, England!

If you squint you can see my new home in this photo of Devonport, and the Naval Base which is right behind it.

I might post again sooner… I’ve got a lot of time on my hands for the next three weeks. I’ll be reviewing my moving checklists and doing up new ones: mainly address changes, but also figuring out the phone thing (need to find out what the costs will be to keep the Canadian number active), and cancelling things here. Then a list for when I get there – top three are pick-up my identity/work card, open a bank account and get a local phone.

I donated most (95+%) of my art and craft supplies which cleared out my room substantially. I’ve taken four trolley loads to the thrift store to donate, sold some items to a pawn shop (gold jewelry – I didn’t know you could get that much for random bits of gold,) and sold some things privately. I don’t want to keep packing things around that I never wear so I cleared out things I never use, or won’t use again from drawers and bins. And am trying to sell some items online (which is the most frustrating and aggravating thing I have EVER done!)

I’ve stopped getting rid of or posting anything else for now as I still need to be comfortable in my room for the next three weeks. So my bookcase, shelf, table and chair, lamps, etc. will stay put until the last week when I start to pack for real. I have to hold onto my printer to the last possible minute – I have to print off my 72 hour PCR test results to carry with me, and my test is Friday morning, my flight is Sunday night… they guarantee them within 48 hours. So not sure what I’ll be doing about the printer.

Now I’m just puttering, sorting out things for packing purposes – wrapping fragile things up, sorting the art supplies I am keeping which I reduced to two scrapbook cases (not including paper), going through documents I still need to keep accessible for dealing with in the move.

I had thought I would have to mail/ship some stuff over due to lack of room in my luggage, but I think I am going to have more than enough room. I’ll know more definitely once I start practise packing. This is going to be a lot different than packing for a trip! I always would pack, then spend two weeks removing things because I knew I wouldn’t need them or get around to wearing everything I packed to start with. This time, I have to pack everything!

I will probably end up trying to sell, or donate, one of my carry-on suitcases as I have two that size. If I need to check a third bag, one of them will be used for that. But if I don’t need to have a third checked bag, then I won’t need it at all. I have two “free” checked bags (my two brand new huge suitcases – which were on sale for $109, original price was $450 each which I would never have paid, my god,) the third checked bag I would have to pay $225, so ideally, I hope I won’t need it. I will be working towards NOT needing it.

My new suitcases – biggest I’ve ever had.

Had my last eye treatment with my doctor here a week ago. Little bit of excitement this time with the injection – I could NOT see out of that eye immediately after the shot. Total grey-out like solid frosted glass. She immediately “fixed it” – by ANOTHER needle in the eye to remove some fluid. Instant vision return. Wow. I’ve completely lost count of the number of injections I’ve had over the last five years and this has never happened before, but it was immediately resolved. I see her again in a couple weeks for a consult before I leave, to get a letter and forms from her to give my new specialist in the UK. She checked to see if there was time for me to have another treatment before I left but there isn’t, so I hope I can get on with a new ophthalmologist ASAP once I get over there.

I’m concerned with the increasing number of cases in England, and the fact that they opened up even with numbers climbing. But… I really can’t change or delay my plans at this point. My lease is up here August 27, I’m off my school health insurance as of August 31, the move has been planned/delayed since 2015 (first delay was because I was diagnosed T2 diabetic and my eyes needed treatment – couldn’t leave my 100% medical coverage at that point), then I was attending school here. I need to get back on my timeline for getting on with my life. I plan a lot of travelling but that’s going to have to wait until the virus retreats or is being controlled. And getting a degree done has been deferred as I want the full in-person learning experience, no more of this online stuff.

I’ve no intention of giving up masks or hand-sanitizer for quite some time! I’ve ordered more of the antimicrobial TrioMed surgical masks. They started selling boxes of 50 to the public so I ordered a couple. Shipping to the UK would be ridiculous, if they even would ship, so I stocked up. They don’t weigh anything to pack with me, and have a five year shelf life – the pandemic will have retreated by then… right?


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Double vaxed at last

On Tuesday I got my second dose! My original second appointment was for August 6th, but lots of supply has been arriving and the Delta variant is gaining ground so the provincial government started opening it up. As of this past weekend everyone can book. I was automatically notified of my rescheduled appointment by the clinic I had my first one at.

The challenge for many is getting booked through the online system, which isn’t necessarily easy. There are pop-up clinics in hot spots too. On Sunday June 27th the City of Toronto and Scotiabank Centre (where the Maple Leafs and Raptors play at home) held a clinic all-day and vaccinated 26,771 people! A new world record for the most vaccinations in one day. The previous record was 17,001 in Texas in April.

I am glad my appointment was at 8 a.m.; it was already 24C and I was walking there. I don’t like heat. When I got home before 9, it was up to 26C and I was pretty uncomfortable. Thank god for A/C. I really feel horrible for everyone out west getting hit with the record breaking heat wave – the city I moved here from is in the mid-high 40s right now. I am so glad I’m not out there.

It was really busy at the clinic too. They’ve got the drive-thru option going with two lanes, and inside the rink was packed (socially distant, of course). Way busier than when I went for my first shot. But it was moving very fast. I was in line inside by 7:57, shot in the arm by 8:04, then had to wait 30 minutes (historically I’ve had a vaccine reaction), and was home by 8:45.

I remembered to take my little sketch book with me this time, so the 30 minutes went by in a blink while I was sketching some ideas for a commission.

And the only reaction I had was a sore upper arm around the injection site, again, same as the first shot. So that was great.

There are lots more doses in the pipeline so it looks pretty good for most Canadians to be fully vaxed by the end of summer, which is awesome. I will, however, be continuing to wear a mask for quite some time. I like not catching colds and having a reduced allergy response to pollen! Plus, no sunburned nose.

My plans for heading abroad are moving along – visa applied for, flight booked, notice given to landlord, selling/donating/disposing of stuff, bought two huge suitcases and fully vaxed! Now I just have to wait and hold my breath… and hope for no delays.

I finally stopped working on my thesis project “Anthropocene of the Crime.” I got the additional paintings I decided to do finished, and did end up doing just one more to make it a nice round total of 60 threatened species.

Giant Armadillo (listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List) the last painting, species #60

We did our live virtual show and artist’s talk with the Robert McLaughlin Gallery on Zoom on June 14th… still waiting for a link from them to share with everyone, once they have it up on their website. This is the link to the live presentation invite that quotes our professor and the featured art is my project: http://rmg.on.ca/events/emerging-visions-artist-talks/ I’m hoping they’ll post the recording soon.

The project is still up in the studio for now. We are supposed to hear from BMO 1st Art around July 9th on the results of their judging. Then I’ll be taking it down and, if I happened to be the chosen Ontario artist I’ll have to mount it all on a sheet of plywood to be transported to their show, if not (most likely) I’ll just retrieve my paintings and scrap the rest. Some of the paintings have been spoken for and there are some I want to keep.

My project blog, which covers all the species I’ve painted and explains my project, is at https://anthropoceneofthecrime.wordpress.com

The final and complete crime investigation board of “Anthropocene of the Crime”

Received my credentials in the mail yesterday. I have to say I was underwhelmed. I was expecting the college to include some swag at least, not just a cardboard mailer with the diploma inside. I’ve seen what other schools have sent their grads and was expecting there would be something. They didn’t even include what normally is given out at convocation in a normal year.

They saved massively on the budget for convocation for two years now, and they also kept charging us ancillary fees for services and facilities that were NOT available during lockdown – so why couldn’t they have at least provided a decorative folder for the diplomas?

It truly is, literally, just a bloody expensive piece of paper.