Rita Chiarelli

It was a painting night, but I threw caution to the wind and went to the Ironwood to hear Rita Chiarelli…and I’m so very grateful that I did!  Her music touched my heart…reached into me deeper than ever I could imagine!  I am so grateful for the heart strings that pull me in a different direction when my head is telling me to go another.  I only have this short life to live and it is for me to discern with great sensitivity what direction I should take at any given time!
I have been a part of the music community for many years now in this city.  Last night, I was a guest of Tom Knowles and his wife.  Tom played bass for Long John Baldry and for several years with Rita Chiarelli.  At break,  the band members actually came and shared time and drinks with  us…Rita Chiarelli…upright bass player, Joseph Phillips out of London, Ontario and Papa John King who played lead for years with Long John Baldry.  The conversation, energy and dancing that came from the guests at our table was amazing!  I was thrilled to be sitting and sharing with such musical people, the stories of my children and the admiration I hold for the abilities of all of these.  Rita shook my ‘painting’ hand and entered into genuine conversation with me.  It was a ‘magical’ evening!

Bev Tosh


One Way Passage by Bev Tosh Exhibit: Invermere, B.C.

One Way Passage by Bev Tosh Exhibit: Invermere, B.C.

The work and the heart of artist, Bev Tosh, will fill you up to the brim!  It is an amazing act of love that she is exploring the common story of so many women!  I am proud of her for her commitment to this project. I hope that my readers have opportunity to enjoy Bev’s work.

Joane Cardinal -Schubert

I’m competing in team kata at a karate tournament this weekend, but I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Joane Cardinal-Schubert again tonight. She is celebrating 30 years as an artist and there is a beautiful exhibit at the Master’s Art Gallery downtown, featuring some amazing pieces.  So, I organized my time so that I could enjoy the work and nibble on beautiful appetizers before scooting to the south again for my practice.
I first met Joane when my first-born was only a small child in 1982.  I was a teacher at a school in the southeast and I was responsible for developing a program that would meet the needs of a whole number of children from various backgrounds…we had Cree, Blackfoot, Metis and Blood…kids who had integrated into a school system that sometimes didn’t work for them fully…and kids who generally had difficulties with english language arts/reading, writing and articulating.
I invited Joane to come out to our school as I noticed very quickly that my students had a general sense of the visual world and while very quiet, they seemed to relish time spent working with their hands no matter what the project.  Writing experiences seemed to follow as a natural progression to real-life experiences OR visits to the Glenbow or walks at the bird sanctuary.  I still have a beautiful drawing of Chief Crowfoot that Jordan Bearshirt drew for me in pencil.  It is one of my treasures from that time.
Joane shared slides with us in a darkened classroom and I remember how excited the students were during her presentation, but also after.  It was an amazing thing to see her large charcoal sketches of sweat lodges and strong dynamic lines of lodge poles.  It was a true landmark in my experience as an arts educator to have her come that day.
Years later, I became an activist in opposition of the building of the Oldman River Dam, having received my degree from the University of Lethbridge.  As a “Friend of the Oldman”, I worked volunteer hours raising funds for the legal battle that ensued.  Somewhere in there, I learned that Joane had done the design for the adopted poster for the huge gathering of people at the Maycroft Crossing.  Many years later, I brought my poster to one of her art openings and she gladly chatted and signed my poster.  She has woven her life in and out of mine and I have followed her art, life and achievements with great regard and happiness.
I truly enjoyed visiting with her again tonight and seeing another woman who has influenced me and my figure drawing, Bev Tosh who is busy working on her work…The War Brides for an exhibit at our National War Museum.  I love that my life has been so touched by strong and talented women!

Highwood Dining

Our staff social committee organized a very special dining event last evening and I invited my daughter along as my date.  It was a fabulous dinner, with amazing choices….beautifully prepared and so much fun!  It was a beautiful way to end the first day of the school week and an awesome thing to share with my girl.  Look over the menu below and see it doesn’t make your taste buds wake up!

  Highwood Dinner Menu

Winter/Spring 2007



  Smoked salmon Charlotte

filled with crab and celeriac remoulade on pickled beet

  Wild mushroom and fresh herb ravioli

with caramelized salsify and Romano shaving

  Warm French camembert cheese

on a sweet onion and Kalamata olive focaccia bread,

tarragon scented tomato and rhubarb chutney

  Woodstone escargot “Marseillaise”

with braised fennel and Pernod sauce


  Two daily student creations

Your server will provide you with the details


  Organic greens in crispy phyllo basket

with maple glazed butternut squash and pumpkin seed vinaigrette

  Tossed Romaine lettuce in lemon and roasted garlic dressing

topped with Blue Ermite cheese and mushroom “à la Grecque”

  Main Courses

  Milk-fed veal medallion with tiger prawn

sweet garlic and white wine sauce

  Roast Brome Lake duck breast

served with dried fig and juniper jus

  Grilled “Sterling Silver” striploin

sautéed mushroom trio and classic Bordelaise

  Seafood Bouillabaisse

in saffron and tomato broth, garlic rubbed baquette and classic “Rouille”

  Rack of lamb in Moroccan couscous crust

mint-infused jus and roasted pistachio

  Daily feature

a reflection of the student’s creativity….

  From the Wood Stone

  Roasted Peking style pork tenderloin

sweet potato, leek and coconut milk tart with lemongrass jus

  Roast spring salmon fillet in Panko citrus crust

Bourbon and vanilla beurre blanc


Select from our array of sweet temptations….

Weekend Wind-up

Well, it’s early and certainly it’s not a real ‘happy’ book, but I’m heading for bed to continue reading Ann-Marie MacDonald’s book Fall on Your Knees….it is officially ‘the-book-of-last-week’, but because it’s so enormous and I can’t hold it up comfortably in bed, I’ll give myself this week as well.  I had read MacDonald’s The Way the Crow Flies quite some time ago because it loosely connects to the Stephen Truscott story.  Having come from military ‘beginnings’ the setting and characters were developed around that experience and the writer captured it all to the detail.  I can tell that similarly, this present fiction is going to be somewhat disturbing…but it’s been on my bookshelf for awhile and after I read it, I can lend it to a friend.
I completed the 110 poetry assignments….1100 poems in all….whoosh…that was quite something!  I’m feeling relieved!  I also got my tax-stuff together finally…dug through countless receipts and you all know that schtick…dull, but necessary and it’s an awesome thing to have that sorted.
Another painting is well on the way to completion.  I’ll post photos this week.  It was inspired by one of my student’s poems actually and I know that it will have a mystical sense about it when it is completed because it began with the light of a child’s words.  Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Easter Candle

I’ve just returned home from our downtown Cathedral, St. Mary’s, where I was invited to participate in and observe/archive the process of making our own Paschal Candle.  It was a tremendous opportunity for me and I enjoyed it very much.  As well as that process, I also felt blessed to explore the shops and work spaces in the deep basement of the Cathedral.  I had such a sense of history and of a remarkable past as we wandered the long corridors.
You will see in my photo archive a collection of quick photographs and I will add to this album as we continue to prepare the candle for Easter Vigil.
It is hard to believe that it has been an entire year since I painted the wall of our Chapel…as I reflect back on the experience, I continue to feel blessed!
I intend for this to be a painting-weekend, but won’t miss the opportunity to work a bingo (YUCK!) for my son’s band-fundraising (in direct contradiction with our Bishop…but apparently we can finish off our commitments of this year)tommorrow afternoon! It will be a long soak in the tub after that event! Wishing you all a creative and peaceful weekend!


I like that now you have the option to listen to music (well, you DID have the option…but, You Tube has taken that away! :0)) while I write….embedding bits of video as I go…I know my musical selections must keep you wondering….but, at least you can listen while you read, if that’s your choice. (I’m loving the real old clips coming out of Woodstock….Arlo Guthrie and Alice’s Restaurant…things including George Harrison and Phil Collins in his young days) I’m not a little ‘Blogging Machine’.  As I sit here listening to music, I go through piles and piles of marking….I am really a true ‘Marking Machine’!
Reading my students’ poetry transforms me!  I am in awe about human experiences and how teenagers, so young, can see the world as they do.  I am so impressed by their sensitivity to experiences of nature, family and friendship.  I am sad that in fact, they have already learned about loss and pain, but relieved to know that they also have explored resiliency and found new hope.  At times I am overwhelmed by the chore of teaching so many writers, but then I take pause and realize what a ‘magical’ thing it is that their words reach into my heart and sometimes give me comfort.  The practice of teaching is a wonder.
I met James Keelaghan in the doorway of my favourite dance spot, The Ironwood.  I had the chance to talk to him about my sister….and about sweet grass.  I love the smell of sweet grass.  It is a memory…a beautiful memory.

Tracy Chapman and B.B.King

The evening’s workout in karate was a good one…techniques and exercises that would enhance kumite (sparring).  There will be a tournament at end of month and I will see if the girls in the Wednesday night class would like to practise a lower belt group kata with me.  Usually there are no competitors for me in solo events, given that so few women practice Shotokan in our area.  I encourage women to become involved in this sport as it creates a wonderful release and a sense of well-being that only meditation can give.  The ribs are healed up so the only thing that I’m not yet able to do are the push-ups and full sit-ups so I do reverse sit-ups to work on the core. 
More projects are going on in the studio and last evening my space was opened up to my son who is enrolled in an art class this semester and is working on a beautiful watercolour piece….transparent glass bottles and overlapping.



It has been an exciting few days! I am so in awe of my children and love them to bits!   My daughter was an awesome dance performer for Mainstage at the University Theater….I was in tears a few different times…sitting in the dark, experiencing the power of dance in absolutely every way and knowing the personal journey that my own child has taken in regards to movement and art these past many years!  I can not be more proud!


Touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight

For 2007 the Program of Dance takes a different approach to Mainstage Dance by offering audiences a full evening dancework. SEN5ES: Mainstage Dance 2007 featuring the Tyler Hornby Quartet runs March 15 -17 at 8pm in the University Theatre.

Touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. SE5ES features the work of faculty members and professional choreographers Melissa Monteros and Michèle Moss as they explore how the body interacts with the world. The work uses video and light to aide the dancers as they delve into memory, perception, sensory overload, and so on. With movement, dance, speaking, cooking, video, and live music, SE5ES is full of sensory stimulation.

Collaborating on SE5ES is composer and jazz musician Tyler Hornby. These three creators work with lighting designer Steve Isom, the Tyler Hornby Quartet, and a cast of student dancers to bring to life the lyrical and upbeat world of SE5ES.

Says Monteros of the unique rehearsal process used to create SE5ES, “It is wild because we are improvising with a structure that usually has 7 or 8 dancers rehearsing 3 times a week… now we have 24 dancers as the full cast and we are developing fragments of scenes with different performers during the week and pulling the whole thing together on Fridays. The spirit of adventure and collaboration is very strong.”

I have also been crazy-busy in the studio these last couple of weeks and coordinated a delivery to the Edmonton gallery with a birthday yahoo with my son!  Oh SO MUCH FUN!  It was such a playful time as we used the entire afternoon to swim and ride the waves.  While the three kids were riding the death-defying slides, I had the most amazing time anonymously tubing in the center of the huge pool with a zillion strangers.   I haven’t laughed so loud in a long time!  So many different people, laughing in a great throb of happiness!

The children and I dried off and then found our way from West Edmonton Mall to a friend’s place where cards came out, good music was played and funny stories were shared.  We flaked out dorm-style with huge smiles on our faces!  A wonderful time!

I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders….report cards done….parent-teacher interviews completed for the year….art progressing in an unbelievable way….and my children feeling ‘on top of the world’!  I’m hoping that all of you are celebrating the great wonder of the ordinary…the wee laugh shared between friends and family is a very powerful thing! 

Sitting Up Late Listening to Songs

Ahhh….Diana Krall sings one of my favourites by an artist who’s reached into my heart with her music since 1973….there is none like Joni Mitchell, but Diana sings this with a full, rich, beautiful voice.  It expresses something that rings true in my own heart.  A ‘magical’ version!  If you have a chance, sit and listen.  Now off to bed for me…it’s a big weekend for this family!  Parent/teacher interviews all day tomorrow, my beautiful daughter performing Mainstage at the University tomorrow night, a drive to the Edmonton gallery to deliver paintings, riding some wild waves at the West Edmonton Mall with my birthday-boy and his friend….and a big Dragon Pearl dim sum on Sunday!  Blessings to all of you!