I can't believe that it's been over 2 years - my sincere apologies for my lapse in blogging. A lot has happened since my last entry. Work turned into retirement, we did some travelling, additions to our family, a new artistic endeavor oh yeah... and we're in the middle of a global pandemic!
For a moment though, let's back up a bit.
In early 2019 I applied and was approved for an early retirement package. After 20 years with the Ontario Public Service, specifically in the Ottawa Crown Attorney's Office on December 23/2019 I started a year long, salaried buy-out. How sweet is that - stay home and get paid! Sadly, that year is quickly coming to a close and I officially retire and start collecting my pension on January 1, 2021.
Up until the end of 2019 things were pretty much the same. Family, friends, work, play, travel, spending time in the studio playing with glass.
For years we dreamed of spending the cold Canadian winter somewhere else - preferably somewhere without snow. In 2018 we spent 3 weeks in Portugal scoping it out as a possible destination. We rented a car and drove through the whole country and fell in love. The decision was made, this was where we wanted to spend our winters.
In early October of 2019 we booked our accommodations - one month just outside of Lisbon and the second month in Albufeira. Our first month was for travel and exploring and our second month was set aside for relaxation and time on the beach. Dreams really do come true!
Before we left, I was looking for something that I could take with me, something portable that I could have as a creative outlet while we travelled. After all, my torch, a propane tank, oxygen concentrator and several pounds of glass and tools are not considered travel-friendly . I often talked about taking up painting and so I enrolled in two Fall sessions at the Ottawa School of Art - An Introduction to Watercolour class and a Travel Sketching class. I was hooked and with a small portable paint box, some brushes and my sketchbook I was all set for our trip.
Below is a sampling of my Travel Journal - it contains small sketches and thoughts about our trip.
We had lots places in Portugal that we loved visiting but perhaps our most favourite was a beautiful estate called Monserrat in the picturesque town of Sintra. We travelled by bus there not once, but twice just to wander and enjoy the scenery. Robert was in heaven snapping photos and trying out his new lenses and filters and I was happy to sit, take in all the beauty around us and attempt to translate it into a sketch or two.
We certainly maximized out our travel in the first month, we even managed an extended weekend (4 days) trip to Barcelona. Luckily this was in February before the Corona virus hit and unfortunately, it hit Spain very hard. We spent many days on buses, trams, street cars, ferries, trains and walking here, there and everywhere. After all that travel and exploring we were happy to spend our second month at a more relaxed pace. Reading, walking, picnics on the beach. It was heaven. We were well into our second month when the Pandemic started to hit the world very hard. Countries were shutting down and appeals were made to those travelling to return home and so we did.
Our todays are so different from our yesterdays. No travel, wearing masks, virtual everything - meetings, shopping, visiting with relatives. We are waiting patiently for a vaccine so we can resume some semblance of normalcy. We hear through the news that advances have been made and a vaccine is on the horizon but we know that it will take months and months before we actually, stand in line, roll up our sleeves and get inoculated. In the meantime, we avoid hugging the ones we love, wear masks and stay at a distance to keep everyone safe.
With all the craft shows and public gatherings cancelled this has been a tough year for anyone who depends on them for a little bit of income (even if it is just enough to support the artistic habit!). I am so very grateful to those who have supported me through all the positive compliments and encouragement and by purchasing my paintings and jewelry. I am truly grateful. And now I am embarking into new territory and trying my hand at a virtual sale. It's an undertaking, to say the least and I would by lying if I said that I wasn't intimidated by the whole process but as they say, nothing ventured.
It's a new world. It most certainly is and through it all perhaps Winnie the Pooh said it best when he gave this little bit of advice to Piglet:
Take care, be safe and I hope to see you soon!
Pursuing creative endeavors when and where ever possible.