Halloween Hot Tub

Tonight my hiking ya yas and I enjoyed our Halloween  hot tub.  The really amazing news of the night was that one of our members shared that she is three months pregnant with her first child!  We broke out in great celebration and tears and hugs were exchanged.  This has been a long time coming and to some degree, the wait makes the news more exciting.  Dear Creator-God shower your blessings upon this family.  Protect them.
Another one of the group has just celebrated her fiftieth birthday….so this meant, apart from our usual pot luck of appetizers, a Dairy Queen icecream cake, candles and singing.
A beautiful night….spirited and supportive….rich and overflowing with  news and insight.  Such strong, wonderful women…such beautiful friends!

Marking Night

It’s 9:41 as I begin typing….and look!   I’ve been sitting by a desk lamp marking for most of the evening.  But only moments ago, received a beautiful call from my son.
Too, too lengthy a story for a blog, but I will say only this.  Through some very interesting circumstances, both of my children are sitting in the seventh row of the Pengrowth Saddledome at the time of this typing.  Truth is, I know they wish I was there with them.  They are listening to Mick and the boys….this, after the wonderful start-up band that I’ve been following for years, 54-40. 
I received a call from the two of them at the intermission.  They asked what song I wanted to hear and asked only that I leave the answering machine to receive the call.  I requested Honky Tonk Women.  As I finished up another Grade Nine english paper, the phone rang.  There, for me, captured on tape was the beautiful lyric, Wild Horses.  How profound that my children should choose this one!  As I drove them to the train tonight I had opened up with them about how I still treasure rituals like carving pumpkins….and I really feel as though they are slipping away…and that I understand that they have to grow up….but it’s hard.  It’s so hard.
And now…the haunting melody….the words…
Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away…and tacked onto the end, the sweet sound of my son’s voice…. “We LOVE YOU MOM!”
I am so well-loved and so grateful.


A good movie is the movie, Adaptation.  Now….it wouldn’t be something you would watch as a way of being entertained, that’s for certain!  But if you like movies that are thought-provoking and take you out of yourself and then back into your head, then this is a movie for you.  Did you see Waking Life?  This would be another one of those.  There are lessons/ideas/concepts to be thought about.  I suppose you would have to be in the right mood…and probably alone…something many people have a difficult time achieving in today’s world.
There are books that are just like that….some that appear on my “Darned Good Books List”.  Try pressing click on some of the titles as you will be led through an adventure of things that I wonder and marvel about.

Bee Kingdom Book Shelf

Years ago I taught an art student…Tim Belliveau.  I also taught his sister some years prior to that and her name is Elizabeth.  She is busy making art in Canada…creating children’s books, animated films and amazing mixed media sculpture.  Tim blows glass.  I have attached one of his orchid sculptures to this blog somewhere.  See if you can find it.  As well, I have made his website available as he has opened an artist’s collective….and is hosting an open house at their studio this weekend.  A portion of his work has been influenced by the orchid and I am absolutely in love with these pieces!

Tim Belliveau: Bee Kingdom/Berlin Glas






The photograph of one of the winning ‘stones’ appeared in The Sun today, along with an announcement to the effect (or is that affect?) that the five winners had been chosen.  I know!  I know! You are all feeling badly for me at this very second….
…but, please DON’T!  It’s alright!  This simply means that Friday night has been freed up! (I have been accused of ‘warm’ sarcasm before)  Could I purchase tickets for the other show I wished to see?  (Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave) You better believe it….NO!  It’s sold out for the entire week.  So what does this mean?
This means that I have an awesome opportunity!  I will rent a darned good film….order in a pizza….and curl up late with some english papers for marking.  A well-deserved rest! 
I think that this was not meant to be, but like all things/people/experiences that are not meant to be….just wait and there will be something/somebody or an experience that will astound you!
I adore all of you for your good wishes, your belief and your sense of humour!  Regardless…..there are always beautiful orchids!  My next photo album will contain one of my first close-ups taken with my digital after being told about the wee flower icon on my camera!

The Stones

WIN one of five
Rolling Stones prize packs
  • A pair of tickets to the concert
  • A Rolling Stones Canadian Collection CD library
  • A pair of mounted Rolling Stones posters
  • A limited edition laminate

Rolling Stones

October 28

Pengrowth Saddledome


To get your butt in a seat, you need to get your

butt moving and decorate a stone (or a rock!)


You can turn it into Mick or a tribute to the Stones or anything

else you think will win you tix to the sold out show.


Well….my friends will know me well enough to know that  I would sit down and take this challenge on.  It was a busy weekend, with driving outside rubbage to the dump and transplanting and reading english papers…..however, I could not miss this opportunity! After writing this blog, I am heading down to the Sun to turn my entry in. 


Within seconds on-line the Stones tickets were sold…I managed one and have given it to my daughter….I would so love to be attending, along with my son!  Wish me luck!

Jann Arden Concert

I’ve heard Jann sing four times in my life….and this was the best.  The renovations on the Jubilee Auditorium have created such a rich warm feeling.  It was initially, just a nice place to sit.  The music by the ‘starter’, Bob Kemmis…delightful.  I thought it was brilliant writing, with such humour…the obvious way that we could be seeing our lives. Freak Luck was one of those songs.  When Jann came out, the place was transformed.  Her voice was so absolutely stunning.  It brought chills to me.  I wept again and again in the silence as I felt that each song marked a place and time in my life….something or someone I could remember.
I like this song….and so I’m writing it down.  Too bad I can’t just cut and paste…but at this point I’m thinking I might really spend time with the words.  It’s called Waiting For Someone.
Busted down, outside of town
Had no gasoline
I should have fixed that thing
How can you go two hundred miles
Without seeing a single soul
I should have stuck on the main road
Now I’m Waiting, I am waiting
If you saw my face right now
You’d say that I was crying
I’m not, I’m not, I’m not
I’m really smiling
If you saw my hands right now
You’d swear that they were shaking
They’re not, they’re not, they’re not
They’re only waving
‘Cause I am waiting, I am waiting
I am waiting, I am waiting
For someone to come along
Heaven help me anybody
The sun is going down.
I am waiting.
I know.  I know!  There’s not much there for lyrics….but they are overflowing for me.  I suppose you would have had to have a memory for them to sit this way with you.
First of all, do you have a hitch-hiking story?  I was hitch-hiking to Camrose, Alberta to see my friend during University days.  I got stuck on a road between the main highway and Three Hills….a small little town in the middle of no where.  I sat there well into the afternoon….until evening….and only two cars went by, neither driver picked me up.  Sometimes life is like that.


I went early to the river this morning with Laurie-dog.  I spent some of that reflection time that Anne Morrow Lindburgh speaks of….necessary for women, or people in general.  It contributes to how we live our lives and how we love…..walking….visiting nature….meditating.
It was an interesting thing.  I went to a place where I had to drive the van initially and park .  Laurie hesitated as I slid the side door open.  It was a little unnerving; the fog.  As I set out I was reluctant, but stepped forward into the white.  Trees and bushes were etched lightly on the surface and branches were like brush strokes on canvas.  As we stepped forward, the world was uncovered or revealed  and behind  us a blank sheet came down and  everything disappeared.  At some point we became enveloped in the present moment.  It seemed there was nothing behind and nothing ahead.
I could not see the river, but felt it in every bone of my body.  It was like a friend who was no longer with me….like Ramona in Michigan….or my mother in Belleville……or my daughter in London.  I felt the river.  I smelled it.  Somewhere mingled with muffled sounds of a city-world were voices…women’s voices…perhaps coming from the other side.
Looking that direction, I saw bare trees floating on white….branches in the sky, with nothing to ground them.  And then I looked upward, where white blended  gradually into a soft blue sky….and most brilliant and beautiful, an almost half-moon against the deepest of all blues.  I stood there alone and wept for the absolute treasure of the moment.  This was a gift for me, alone, early this morning in the fog.
Hiking back to the van, I stooped and plucked up a bright yellow dandelion, a last bit of summer, delicious in the white morning.  I placed it in my vest pocket and stood it in a small cup of water on my window sill when I arrived home….a gesture that was a simple recollection of childhood and my own mother’s love.


I took Laurie-dog down to the river this evening before the sun set.  I watched the fly fishermen cast their lines…smelled the air.  It was a beautiful time.  Many different birds flew overhead and magpies sat heavy on the ends of tree branches.  They made taunting sounds that upset Laurie, but for some reason he was afraid to run into the tall grass.  Perhaps a coyote was close by.
Everything is a shade of brown now.  I think that it’s unusual that I should think this a wonderful thing.  But, truly IT IS!  Leaves cling to branches of certain types of trees…..a desperate clinging to life and wonder and the blue true view of river that passes by every moment of waking evenything.  I love the brown and deep gold-brown and blue-brown and russett and ochre and sienna…..the umber and grey of everything but the blue sky.
I loved my walk at the river tonight.
I went there to pick up and bring home some special stones.
From there, I drove to the Home Depot.  The entire gardening section had been abandoned.  I found myself parked in front of three flats of orchids…..Alone.  I literally called out, "Aren’t they simply amazing?" as I stepped up to the flats.  I spent no less than an hour gazing at the intricate flowers, looking at the patterns, the lips and the mouths of them.  And then finally, I placed a beautiful orchid in my shopping basket and brought it home.
Read ‘The Orchid Thief’.  Watch ‘Adaptation’.  They will cause you to wonder about orchids.  I have decided that I am now a collector…..of orchids.  Tonight I made that decision. 


This morning while I sip my coffee, Peanut-the-cat curls up on my lap as I type…his neck melts over my arm so that I feel the purring before I hear it. His head hangs heavy and eyes watch the slow movement of letters across this page.

I am thinking about the art opening yesterday….and feel wonderful about the entire event. Five other artists, all men, were present for the opening and I could only describe our afternoon/evening exchange as ‘magical’.

My dear sister-artist-friend traveled up to Edmonton with me early in the morning and the road slipped under us and away from us as we shared much in the way of animated conversation, laughter and tears. We seemed to have been transported there. It was such a rich and peaceful time for me, something I have not relished for awhile now.

This morning I have been reading little articles and biographies on -line about the artists, who for the most part I only knew by their reputations, but now know in a more personal way. Brent Laycock stood with me and visited about his brilliant painting “Red Rose”. We spoke of many things, but most memorable for me, will be how he turned toward my work and said, “Your paintings are powerful.” I was taken aback when he responded to my work. He explored it, thought about it and asked me questions about my process. This is a man who late in the 80’s presented a workshop for me in a little community painting group called Calgary Community Painters! I respect him for his ethic and his dedication to his art. He is a humble man and his words are like red berries on grey bushes….precious and intense.

Bill Webb. Well…what can I say about him? He is an absolutely marvelous person! He is so interested in hearing from others and he REALLY listens. He included everyone in conversation and listened with intention. I knew that Bill was listening to me by the next question he would ask. Only certain people can do that…keep their focus on others rather than themselves. Bill has that gift. We had great discussion about his grand-daughter Emily-Ann who walked up to one of my paintings and asked, “Why are the leaves turning?” We spoke of gator board and shipping art and framing art and stretching canvas. We spoke about transparency and gesso and all things artistic and otherwise. It was completely remarkable! It was so very special. He turned off the road toward Camrose…but had led us to the edge of the city after the event. It was a warm thing to have him pass a hug through the open window and to wish us safe travel. W.H.Webb to Canada and the world……Bill to me.

Glen Semple and his wife Lisa were so wonderful! I had met Glen a long time ago and it was so nice to talk to him about things like gator board and airbrushes… 5-0 brushes. I heard about his transition in subject matter from 1990 to the present. I heard about his University experiences and the different influences on his life and his work. It was interesting to hear him speak about creating a balance in his life with family and dance lessons and such. He ate all of the shrimp off of the appetizer plate. Amazing how detailed and technical his work is. It is such a contrast to my own.

Walter Drohan and his wife seemed to be the most steeped in and knowledgable about this lifestyle. There is such wisdom and experience there! Walter plays poker with Ted Godwin and has quite a bit of history around Emma Lake….and some stories that were just alluded to regarding the Regina Five. We were making light of The Group of Seven, etc as we set our reservations at the Copper Pot Lounge , overlooking the legislative grounds in Edmonton. I spent some time this morning looking at works, both ceramic and painting, by Walter Drohan. He is clearly a master at his craft and it is a wonderful thing that I shared company with him.

Don Toney was so comedic and light-hearted and generous with his advice. I loved his direct approach and appreciated his willingness to mentor me immediately. He had so much to share with me regarding marketing and the ‘business’ side of painting. I will include notes on these things in other documents and refer to them as I go along. He and his wife Verna shared so many delightful stories about family and truly made us all feel a part of his circle. Delightful!

Dan mentioned in the presence of others that he believed my current work was some of the best he has seen for some time. I felt very much affirmed by his comments and very warm to be included in a circle of such amazing artists. He spoke very positively about Len Gibbs who was unable to attend the opening. He also chatted with a large group of us about the history of the commercial artist in Edmonton. Those stories are so interesting and help me to look at all of this within a ‘context’.

The day/evening caused me to feel so enriched, so proud and satisfied with my experience as a woman-artist. I have done well with my life and only hope that my good health will be sustained so that I can go forward in this relatively ‘young’ skin of mine and grow.

On the drive south…..home……I felt so tired…..but so blessed by the day. I had my friend at my side. We quietly chatted all of the way home….grateful for a full rich day!

Centennial Exhibit West End 4 Centennial Exhibit West End 3 Centennial Exhibit West End 2 Centennial Exhibit West End


Long Service

It’s been twenty-five years since I began teaching in this school district and a year and a half in a Medicine Hat high school before that.  Tonight I took my son as my date for the formal banquet that was held in celebration of thisevent and received recognition along with my colleagues.

I felt blessed to have my son be a witness to this experience.  And I feel grateful as I head for bed tonight.  My big black and white dog is here curled at my feet in the dark…just waiting for the cue….any movement from me that says I am leaving him for other parts of the house. 

I received binoculars….beautiful high powered binoculars as my recognition gift!  My best friends will know just how much I have wanted a nice pair of binoculars for such a long time!  Afterall, I want to be taking them out on my hikes and to my rock concerts!  I want to make record of the amazing birds that I witness every summer at the river.

When I arrived home, I found a letter waiting here on the computer from my father…..it made me cry.  It was so special to me.

He explained that if I had served this many years in the military, I would have received my Canadian Military Decoration (CD) and two Oak Leaf Clusters. He explained , “Yours is for truly dedicated, loyal and committed service and I wish we were there to acknowledge that.”

Dad…you and Mom ARE with me here……you are as close as my heart beat…….or this breathing out and in…..you are everything I am or hope to be.  I love you…..my dear and generous parents!