Tribute to a Friend

“Later I will tell him: our courage comes out in different ways. We are brave in our bold dreams but also in our hesitations. We are brave in our willingness to carry on even as our pounding hearts say, “You will fail and land on your face.” Brave in our terrific tolerance for making a hundred mistakes. Day after day. We are brave in our persistence.”
― Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation

My dear friend, Bobbie, lived bravely, passionately and his spirit transcends everything that bound him to the earth…I love you and my life has been incredible because you have been here for me…for us.  No words for now, but I’ve sipped coffee this morning in the quiet of the house, Max at my feet, revisiting our friendship.  These are, in part, moments along the way.  But, we spent most of our friendship looking out at others and beauty.  So, I can not possibly share all of the immensity of that.  Know that you were loved, my beautiful Bob.

ACAD third year…and we gathered to celebrate spring.  I will forever be grateful for meeting you.

After meeting you, you were a part of every celebration.  My children love you.  My friends love you.  And we became family, all of us.

Bob is found written into so many journal pages…a few appear in this post.

I will let Ed know…

Gatwick Airport, before the train.

Oh, the places we have seen!  Angel Glacier, beautiful hikes…so many hikes…walks…galleries…Paris, Giverny, London…Argenta…road trips…books, art, family, friends.

I am blessed for having Liz, Janet, Bronwyn, Peter, Artemis, Cedar…I am blessed for the circle of love.

Heist or Give Away?

Beginning mid-January, my mind was awash.  My brother, John, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (dammit) in hospital and then faced an agonizing three months in hospital, at home and then in hospice until his death on April 21.  Those of you who know me…those of you who spent time with me….those of you who connected at all with me through that time, know, in part, what I was going through and how I was experiencing life.

Off of work for three months, things were tight and so I thought to sell some older art work on Kijiji.  (Artists, don’t do it…don’t ever do it! lol)  It wasn’t until John died, and I headed, with tremendous resolve, to the studio to paint that I discovered a missing painting and not just a wee little thing, but a giant colourful framed floral piece that was 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot…or so I remember it.

Now, they say that trauma and physical exhaustion will affect how a person processes things…remembers things…or even experiences them.  Immediately, my reaction was that one of the Kijiji clients (did I give out my address?) helped themselves to the painting???  Freaky!!!  Yes!  I assure you I am locking my studio when I leave. (NOW)

The other habit I have, however, is the habit of visiting out in the studio with friends and family.  It’s a comfortable spot.  Once chatting away, it isn’t an unusual thing to hear, “Oh, Kath, I like that painting.”  If I hear those words, I go into auto pilot and typically say, “If you like it, then it’s yours.  I want you to have it.”

What I need to ask my readers is…did this happen to you?  Did you come into my studio one day for a friendly visit…and leave with a huge floral painting?  May I refresh your memory?  I’m posting a photograph here.  If you have this hanging on your wall, please let me know.  It’s not that I would ask you to return it, I simply want to know what/who I’ve forgotten.  I want to know where this painting lives.

I want to know that there was NOT a heist (after all, nothing else was disappeared).  This is a weird story, I know.   It gets more weird…but, I’m not going there for now.

Dad, if you’re reading this…I know it will freak you out.  Sorry.

Bergen Rocks and soooo Much More!

Yesterday saw us traveling north on Highway 2 to do a bit of an exploration of Olds, Alberta.  Both Pat and I had heard a CBC radio interview about the Highway 27 Sculpture Pathway and both wanted to see it.  Cayley just came along for the ride.  What a beautiful day!!

It seemed that we sailed there…when sister-friends are together, conversation seems to carry them and quickly!  A short jaunt on a sunny summer day, Calgarians can be in Olds in an hour tops.

There was a lovely walkway, edged with beautiful landscaping.  All three of us agreed that at some point the city will have to relax the parking restrictions on at least one side of the blvd that edges the park.   Pat parked her car, with permission, in front of a very welcoming real estate office on the 27. We enjoyed our casual engagement with the sculpture, as well as sharing a personal critique of the sculptures.  Read about the beginnings of this vision here.

From the sculpture garden, we began our exploration of Olds, first looking at the residential areas and then locating the amenities, including churches, sporting facilities and other venues of interest.  We started off at Centennial Park.

Noteworthy, I thought, was the Horseshoe Pitch.

The Centennial Park offered a splash park (presently closed), a series of historical plaques informing us of the relevance of various buildings, early settlers and businesses.

I was very enthusiastic about the building facades…

A particularly interesting venue was Pandora’s Boox, providing for opportunities to game, read and drink nice teas and coffee.  Housed in a 1910 Bank building, this space had great charm and seemed to be a bit of a hub.

 

I also absolutely loved this little shop…a real community self care spot.  I was grateful for the tour offered up by the proprietor.  Awesome, Olds Town Square.

By the time we located and explored the large number of churches and saw the various parts of the town, it was time to eat and we decided to try out the Mad Greeks.

Nummers!  Good choice!  Cayley and I enjoyed a regular meat Donair, combined with a Greek Salad at 11.00.  Pat enjoyed a massive Caesar Salad with a side of Garlic Toast, followed by a very light cheese cake.  Fresh food produced by a lovely couple.

From lunch, well, we met up with City TV, of course!  Ranked last by Macleans???  Mountain View County???  Are you kidding???

Small town Albertans react to list saying they live in Canada’s worst community

This little interview was followed by a bit more of a shop wander and then off we were to discover Olds College and their Botonical gardens.  Amazing stuff, people!

This is a destination that every Albertan would enjoy!  I felt like yesterday was a really relaxing day and that I had the opportunity to see new things.  We followed our walk at Olds College with an icy cold lemonade from Tim Horton’s and east and south we headed.  Thank you, Pat!  Another great adventure!

 

First Thursday @ the Glenbow Museum: August 1, 2019

My son, Pat and I attended the first Thursday event on August 1st.  Recently, this exhibit includes the work by the amazing Nick Cave.  I’m so happy that we had opportunity to enjoy this work.  Very provocative, unique and obviously born of tremendous industry.  There is also such depth of meaning and I’ve tried to include some of the background here.

Loved the piece, the Enchanted Forest!!

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In the second gallery space Ed Pien’s work, Our Beloved was a difficult piece for me to spend too much time with.  I actually spent some time thinking about Jordan Bearshirt in this space and my recent trip to Blackfoot Crossing to say prayers at his resting place…I snapped a few photographs while James and Pat chatted and then moved on.

Second Skin was most obviously about the artist’s embodiment of their art.  While the art was engaging, I felt unnerved or uncomfortable about it.  

First Thursday was a most wonderful evening.  I enjoyed the company of both Pat and James.  We wandered the gift shop for a while and I found some lovely books for my grandson, things that I’m certain he will enjoy.

I loved the conversation and the company.  Another great night in YYC!  I’ve heard many people complain that Calgary is a tough city for making connections or sharing in community.  My own experience is one where I simply don’t have enough time to take in all of the events that are absolutely accessible.  While the sprawl does create a physical distance between many of my friends and myself, it is always a good idea to meet in the middle.

I still enjoyed my time at the river, but at this time, already began to suspect that something was up with the female Bald Eagle.  Dad seemed to have assumed all of the duties and there was even the appearance of a sub Adult, maybe 3 or 4 years of age.  I took a close up shot of Dad’s talons to confirm that it was him, although I’ve become accustomed to his handsome face.

Two Ladies and a Little Boy Go Tenting: July 30, 2019

The morning I took my tent over to set up in my grandson’s back yard was the last day I saw Mrs. alive at the river.  I didn’t know it then, but the female Bald Eagle’s beautiful and peaceful time with me at the Bow River’s edge would be her last and so I will always treasure the archive of photographs my readers might enjoy, here.

I kind of chuckle about that sentence as I leave it behind in my first paragraph, imagining that anyone at all might read the thoughts or passage of time shared by a 64 year old woman.  I feel some days as though I am still a young girl who marvels at the beauty and rich loam of the mysterious gully across from my home on Market Street.  I don’t feel different and yet so many years and so many places have gone by!

When in doubt about how a camping trip might be arranged between a Gramma and her Grandson, it is best not to let the logistics interfere with the experience, and so, sometimes you just have to go ahead and make things happen.

Little did I know that a tent would simply provide yet another way for trucks and diggers to be celebrated.  In the tent we went with the big yellow trucks…and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Thank you, Linda, for our tea and snacks. Steven and I headed out to a very busy construction site.   Once returned, Gramma rolled up her sleeping bags and packed up her tent and was on her way.  A call for severe thunderstorms that afternoon, made this call, the safe call.

The river is no longer silty and the clarity of the water in the morning, allowed beautiful hues of turquoise and green to shine through.  Max is always my trusted companion on these early morning walks.

First things first…the fly sheet goes down.  ‘Say fly sheet, Steven.’

‘Fly Sheet’.


There was an orangy-yellow glow to everything that evening at the river.  I watched two beaver for almost a half hour before walking north west and finding Mrs. quietly observing her world from above.  That night I confirmed that her talons on the left had damage.

 

Two Ladies and a Little Boy Go to the River: July 25, 2019

Hours spent by the river are the best hours.  I hope and pray that my grandson will love and respect nature as much as I do.  I will do my very best to instill that in him by sharing my joy and delight in the textures, colours, sights, smells and sounds of natural environments.


Snake!  Gramma touch.

What a pleasure to make observations of the juveniles.  Dad is watching closely.

Two Ladies and a Little Boy Go to the Lake July 23, 2019

As Steven’s second birthday comes around, I realize that not only is my house needing a good clean, but I’m really behind in my archives.  I’m not writing as frequently.  I’m at a stand still in a lot of ways. I’m spending hours and hours at the river’s edge.  Here it is August 9, 2019 already and summer is whizzing by!  I will always look back on this staycation with gratitude.  I’ve been through a lot this past year and even some days during summer, I have experienced hardship and sadness as traumatic events lose their crinkles in my heart and flatten out where I can see them.  One after another, the memories of dark times are, in fact, smoothed out and my life of nature, art, friendship and love are able to create a blanket over them.

So, it was a fine morning on July 23, when Linda prepared us a nice picnic lunch and we three headed to the lake.  This is a year of construction vehicles and diggers and such marvelous observations at the neighbourhood school and on every roadway.  Even the back alley holds its charm.

I am grateful for Linda’s friendship and I treasure every special moment I am able to observe the world with my grandson.  Summer 2019

At the river, the family of Bald Eagles is observed with great respect and awe.  I view these with such love and feel that the narrative of this little family fills a hole in me, a cliche maybe, but I feel it is so and I sort of understand now why people use it.  Otherwise, it’s difficult to articulate what goes on when you lose someone special.

While of very poor quality because of distance, I post the photos of the two adults side by side here because these two are the last two photographs I captured of Mr. and Mrs. together.  This is their favourite perch.

Thank you, Ziggy!

There we were at Anderson Station, bright and early.  Pat was so very kind to share her Sunday tickets, a gift from Ziggy and family, with me.  I will always be grateful because Sunday ended up being a great day for workshops and new discoveries at the Calgary Folk Music Festival!

With an 8:30 departure, we found ourselves setting out our tarp and setting up our lawn chairs at the Main Stage around 10:00.  Again, we had a marvelous location and I felt really excited about what the day would hold.  I really enjoy Pat’s company, our conversations and the fact that we are both open to adventure and surprises.  We brought Pat’s treats for the first part of our morning…nummy B.C. cherries, moist rhubarb cake (love her baking!) a huge bag of Hawkin’s Cheezies and mints, (the hard candy type with the dab of chocolate in the middle).

Walking past the CKUA tent and on our way to the Rigstar Stage 5, we happened upon an interview with Ndidi O.  BAM!  What a magical start to our day!

It’s so strange to learn that my first connection with Ndidi’s music was so long ago!  And had it not been for the Calgary Folk Music Festival, I likely would have not enjoyed that encounter.  Music is always out there and it reaches into our hearts.  I can only imagine how much work goes into establishing and maintaining a career in music.  Thank you, Ndidi, for your heart.

After her song, Maybe the Last Time, Pat and I headed to our first workshop of the day, Hear Your Voice at the Rigstar.

This was an eclectic stage, so there wasn’t so much jamming as you might typically experience, but it was a beautifully supportive stage.  T. Buckley, Logan Staats, Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Ramy Essam…each one very unique in their approach to both song writing and performance.  This was an animated stage.  It was a perfect mix and the audience was receptive.  Ramy Essam and Beverly Glenn-Copeland were the surprises here.

Follow link here to read Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s biography.

Ramy Essam had a huge collaborative presence on the stage and on several others during folk fest weekend.  A great contribution.

We didn’t take much of a break because this stage set us up for a powerful day of music.  We headed for the Community Natural Foods Stage 6 and set ourselves down along the edge of the tent, but in the shade.  The stage show was titled Dance Hall Moonshine and indeed, it was a Dance Hall.  On stage; Ndidi O, Valerie June, Cedric Burnside and Yissy Garcia and Bandancha.  Cedric Burnside was the surprise here.  This show was full of strong beats and drew in the crowds.

 

We decided to grab our lunch from our Mainstage backpacks and to find spots at Stage 6 again, beginning with Calgary’s own Lab Coast.  We moved ourselves quite a distance from the stage because the sound seemed really big (too big)…so, we ate our lunch next to the new Cannabis Consumption site. lol  

Thanks to Wendy Lees, for the beautiful salads that she shared with me the evening before, at the Ironwood Stage and Grill.  I felt like we took a big step up from folk fest food with these nice packed lunches.  And congratulations to Wendy on her summer tour of the Custom Woolen Mills and the Dancing Goats Farm.

At 1:55, Fantastic Bombastic began with me moving into a central position under the tent.  I knew that this would be a lively stage, featuring musicians; The Harpoonist and the Axe Murder, Sam Lewis, Reel in Dimes and Freak Motif.  And it was lively!  What fun.  This stage got the win for the greatest collaborative jams…there was such chemistry, while all-the-while each musicians particular genre and music was evident.  Everyone in the tent was up and moving.  It was a very powerful experience.

This stage was the highlight for me.  I had marked Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s concert on my map, for 2:20, but there was no way I could see myself leaving bopping stage!  Grateful that I caught him in the morning.

Folk fest requires that I enjoy several rituals throughout its course, but given the usual four days, these rituals can be spread over the entire festival.  This year, given two days, provided by dear friends, Linda and Pat…I couldn’t possibly do everything.  I didn’t take time in the merchandise tent this year, nor did I visit the artisan fair.  I did, however, take note of what activities were happening in the children’s section as I imagined my grandson attending next year.  One has to prioritize.  I didn’t miss iced cold lemonade though and Pat and I got a cup on our way to the Field Law Stage 3.

I thought that because this was Pat’s first folk fest experience, we should go into the Field Law via the beer gardens.  Now, typically, folk fest sees me enjoying a single cold beer at this stage.  But this year, oh my, given that the Field Law is physically open to the beer gardens, I found it extremely crowded, elbow to elbow and very noisy.  Standing room only was located directly in front of the biffs.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea although it was evident that the music was phenomenal.  I sat for three songs and Pat stood where space was more available on the outside fringe.  She was such a good sport.  At this stage; Hamsa Hamsa, Ramy Essam, Mdou Moctoar and Cedric Burnside.  I was happy that we had earlier enjoyed two of these.

Off we went to the National for Channel Crossers; Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls, Mekons, Colter Wall and We Banjo 3.  In the intense heat of the day, Pat was very observant and found us comfy seats under a tent, compliments of the National.  Wowsah!  What luck!  It was under this tent that a former student dropped by and grabbed a hug and our annual selfie.  It always seems I bump into Brent at folk festival.  So wonderful to see these young kids grow up!  This stage was a bopping Celtic sort of country blend.  The sound wasn’t good, although the National stage is usually pretty good.  The standout for me, here, was We Banjo 3.  They engaged the audience and got things bopping.  We greeted Colter Wall after the performance.  We thought he was very brave during the stage performance as his placement with the other musicians didn’t seem to be very well thought out.  Sound for his very traditional country music was better at the evening stage, but again, not my cup of tea.  It’s obvious there is a huge following of this 24 year old’s music, regardless.   

By this time, it was time to head for the ATB Mainstage where the lineup included Della Mae, Valerie June, Colter Wall and the finale The Strumbellas.  I really found Valerie June was one of the most unique artists, with a very beautiful presence on stage.  Funny how she stepped out, put her big green bag down next to the drummer and when she left, she said, “good night” and went and picked up her bag and walked off.  No messing around. 

Pat and I went, during Colter Wall’s performance to seek out french fries and coffees and returned to our spots with gigantic hot dogs from the Red Wagon food truck.  Mine was slathered in cheese, sauerkraut and onion…the onion slightly undercooked.  We chowed down while watching Colter’s fans completely engage his music.  His vocals are his strength, but for now, he is delivering a lot of covers.

The finale act was very entertaining and the entire island was moving rhythmically side to side and singing along.  I love folk fest evenings…the brilliant sky fading from blue to darker blue to black…the lantern parade…huge bubbles spilling into the air…beach balls bouncing through the crowd and finally, on the evening of the 40th anniversary, fireworks!  Hugs from friends, Jocelyn and Mark…and we were on our way…another beautiful folk festival thanks to my friends.  We crammed a lot of music into our day!  Thank you, Pat.  Thank you, Ziggy.  Thank you, Ziggy’s family!

Dear Ruth,

Thank you, Ruthie!  I love you like a sister!

July 27 was Mom’s birthday and I missed her terribly.  Your invitation came at a perfect time as I had spent more than a week feeling anxious, breathless and sad that I could not speak with my mother.  Right away, I contacted my daughter Erin to see if she would be able to come with me to the Ironwood to hear Hogan and Moss and she agreed.  I really felt blessed to be in Erin’s company.  We don’t have the chance to spend very much time alone together anymore and I miss her.  I felt vulnerable and sad and even wished that I could be back east with my Dad, sister and brother, so this time out was really a treasure.

We scooched in beside Lauraine and Wendy and Karen and to be honest, I felt that beneath our smiles and gratitude to be together, we were all a little tired. But, oh, Ruth!  You looked so beautiful!  Your hand made felted jacket was spectacular!  You glowed with the excitement of your plans for Scotland.  Your generous heart was appreciated.

You took to the stage and I had no idea that you would open your set with this song…

You are always generous.  The music community loves you.  We love you for your stories, for your laughter and for the struggles that have made you who you are.  We so treasure the times that we can share.  You do so much to build others up.

Thank you for introducing us to Jon and Maria…such unique, heart felt, authentic music.  Their music is so grounded in historical narrative.  It was wonderful to share this experience and to learn so much…

Jon Hogan is an official posthumous co-writer with Blaze Foley, who died largely unheralded in 1989, but has been covered by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, John Prine, and Lyle Lovett, and about whom a feature film, “Blaze,” by Ethan Hawke, was released in 2018. Jon Hogan was commissioned by Foley’s sister to complete three songs from lyrics found in Foley’s handwriting after his death. (“Can’t Always Cry,” “Safe in the Arms of Love” and “Every Now and Then,” BMI.

Blessings on your journey, beautiful friend.  I hope that you discover love and kindness wherever you go.

Love,
Kath

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.”
― Hannah Harrington, Saving June

 

Friday @ the Calgary Folk Music Festival 2019

Forty years since the beginnings of summer at the edge of our beautiful river and the celebration of music, community and food!  This year was the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s 40th anniversary!  And, surprise! Things are a little tight for me this summer and I planned that I wouldn’t partake this year.

Everything turned around for me when my sister-friend, Linda, told me that she’d treat me to a night at the festival, if I’d join her for Sheila-E.  What???  Of course I would go!!  I was speechless and offered snacks and dinner as an exchange. (hardly an equivalent!)

Friday at noon, we headed out from Anderson station.  My rituals each year have included the C Train ride and the walk with other folkies from the 1st Street stop down to the site.  Parking downtown has always been a bit of a worry for me.  This year was the first year, though, that I actually felt really weary as I headed home after the night’s main stage performances, so I might be reconsidering my mode of transport in future.

We set up our tarp at the ATB Mainstage and I was really happy to discover that friends, Jocelyn and Mark were parked right to our right.  Our location was forward of the walk path by a long shot and this year, to the left, near the dancing section.  I decided we had great spots for the evening shows and that I would have great access to step forward and into the front row fray later on.  Whoop!

On the way to the National (Stage 4) we stopped at the CKUA tent in order to confirm times for Grant Stovell’s interview with Sheila E.

The National was hosting a very energetic workshop from 3:00 until 4:15, Mujeres Poderosas with Sofia Viola, Yissy Garcia and Bandancha, Sheila E., Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo.  It’s really impossible to describe, here, the energy level.  A fabulous workshop.

I loved the percussive power at this stage.  Yissy Garcia and Bandancha, Los Pachamma y Flor Amargo and Sofia Viola owned that stage.  Sheila E. snuck in a bit of percussive stuff on one improvisation piece, I’m thinking because she wanted to let Yissy be the star of this performance, knowing she had a Mainstage spot that night.  I really don’t know, but this is the narrative I’ve written into the afternoon.  It’s all in the head!  It was hot hot hot and our shade kept moving.  Click on the images to enlarge.

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After this stage, we headed for the CKUA interview and for lunch.

O’ MY!  Sheila E. spoke so eloquently…a little about her career, the struggles, her music and her mission.  I felt that she was authentic, warm and was very blessed to be sitting this close to her.

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Freak Motif provided the musical dynamic through the course of the interview and they are fantastic!

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Yissy Garcia and Bandancha led off the evening main acts at 5:45.

IMG_6191 (2)  This performance was followed by one of my favourite folk fest discoveries, some ten years ago, Ndidi O.  What pipes!  What heart!  I treasured the experience of connecting with her music again.

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Dinner break came after Ndidi and Linda and I headed straight for Mediterranean, one of the yummiest meals served at the folk fest.  Linda went with the wrap style and I had the plate.    For years, I enjoyed the curry that was served, but that business didn’t show up about three years ago and I’ve never found the perfect substitute.

Back we went to our seats to enjoy the food, but not so much the music.  You have to be a certain kind of music lover to enjoy the Rheostatics.  The band has a strong following, given their forty years of performance and are often considered one of Canada’s iconic bands. For me, their music is a tad of the ‘musical theater’ vein.  I like the folk festival because it exposes to music you may not listen to otherwise, but this band just wasn’t my cup of tea.  The high point of this performance for me, was when poet Kris Demeanor joined the band in song near the end.

High point of the night came at 8:50!  Sheila E kept us all spellbound, and as planned, I headed for the front, coming finally to the second row, with Linda in tow.  What a night!  Sheila E completely connected with the audience.  It was fantastic!

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There was just not going to be any beating this performance and so I recommended to Linda that we pack up for the night.  I was going home with one of Sheila E.s drumsticks.  I was flying high from the vibrancy and execution of a wonderful performance.  We walked along to the train, full of music and gratitude.  Thank you so much, Linda, for this gift.  It was up there with the top musical experiences of my life.