Summer Vacation Arrives!

A beautiful feeling moves right through me!  Summer began with a potluck lunch shared with my hiking ya yas…and their introduction to Mighty Max.  It was wonderful….shared plans for the summer…ate good food and shared beautiful drinks.  I will go out to the studio this evening and tidy up the studio as I have great dreams of focusing on the painting…writing…and a healing heart.

I am excited about my karate camp in Drumheller on Sunday, followed by a drive to Forestburg to bring in the summer!  So much fun opening up for me and Max!  I know that I don’t sit long enough to write here anymore…but I will grab the rare opportunity to get something out to the universe.

It was wonderful to hear from Georgio via Facebook yesterday as he has opened up a guest house in Argentina now.  He was an amazing host in Palermo, Sicily last summer, so I have set my sites on going to Central and South America one day…Guatemala to work at harvesting turtle eggs…and South America to see some mountains I’ve never seen! Why the heck not?  We’ll see if I can make that all happen!

Summer Morning

It is a beautiful summer morning…the light is the sort that washes over everything and the Poppies in the garden remind me of a Monet painting….the irises, of a table still life by Vincent Van Gogh….and an amazing thing that I have seen both paintings in the ‘real world’, not just in art books!
 
I’ve been very much consumed by Max as of late…no real quality time for writing and I suppose I had better make a more serious attempt at taking his photograph, as he is like a black and white streak most times…flitting from one city event to the next.  When he drops, he drops and is out like a light and so is his new Mom, who rears him like raising children, "You had better sleep when they sleep!"
 
I recently sent an update to a friend of mine in the country with lists of his ‘firsts’ and since then there are many more ‘firsts’…all of them absolutely magical!
 
"Yesterday…a day of adventures!  And…at times, our Max-Man moves so fast that there is no hope for photographs…that’s where words come in so helpful at times.
 
 
He met my next door neighbour and her son…they just lost their  15 year old Meeko on the Friday before the Saturday when I lost Lawrence.  Needless to say, puppy hugs were terrific medicine for the two of them, with the promise of more hugs to come.  Through the visit, I was able to introduce Brady to the neighbourhood girls…he’s a shy boy…and after three years, because of little Max, they all have names…Melissa, Caitlin, Rachel and Maddy…all little girls I give winter art lessons to in my studio.  You can imagine Max’s delight with children!  He was the star…and just LAPPED it up!
 
Max’s first river walk…we didn’t do the full extent and go right down to the water because Mommy #2 was frightened of the coyotes who tend to be lingering around, especially at that hour of the morning.  Big Laurie used to be spooked by them, so needless to say, when someone is this short, best to keep them on leash and out of the tall grass.  We walked the high ridge and that was enough to poop my new son out for his mid morning nap.
 
 
Max is ravenous…still sorting out how to deal with that.  Marty will likely give me a vet brand this week that will be more helpful to him than the food I picked up to get him through the weekend.  I’ve been mixing with the brand his country Mom gave me, hoping that the transition isn’t hurting his tummy.  He got put in the ‘bad box’…his kennel for some time to think after consuming ‘cat shite’.  YUCK!
 
My daughter had pup-sitting duties in the afternoon because I was off to a bridal shower…I missed him terribly during the shower and left a tad early…saying I have a baby at home.  I actually feel this morning as though I’ve been on a 1/2 hour breast feeding schedule for three days…this also makes me laugh, big time!
 
 
Peanut and Max have had some nose sniffing moments…butt sniffing moments….and Peanut is using swipe techniques when boundaries are crossed.  They’ve both slept with me for the past two nights, after Peanut chose to sleep on the window sill on night #1.
 
Max showed me how he gives chase….this, after shredding a paper towel in front of me….he would pick up the entire pile of bits every time I approached and run in huge circles…with that funny look in his eyes.  He also LOVES his toys…and especially his neon green tennis ball…he loves to go after it…and to move it around by himself.  He is learning the bouncing game and on 3 has had a small success rate of picking it out of the air with his mouth.  He and I were BOTH surprised.  Needless to say, I fell into bed last night…absolutely exhausted, winded and with aching hips!
 
 
First puppy bath here…and I think, first experience with the blow dryer?  He curled into a ball under my arm…."OHHHH!  I don’t like that sound," he shrieked! 
 
So…after his second day in the city, Max loves kids, doesn’t like kids on bikes….loves car rides…doesn’t like cars…loves playing with Mommy…knows he can’t nip pant legs…loves food and big slurps of water…thinks there’s another dog in the mirror or in window glass….and finds magic all day long!"

Since this writing, Max has learned to hold on for dear life as he sticks his face out against the wind in the van.  He has got some favourite walking spots, pooping spots and has socialized with the neighbour friends.  He is growing in love with my son, his girlfriend and daughter.  I love him so much and he fills my days with laughter and surprise!

 
 
 

Max

God listens to us speak…
 
It would be fun for you to go back two years and read what I wrote on these pages on October 25, 2006.  It is an amazing series of magical events that led me eventually to bring Max home, yesterday…June 20, 2008…and that entire story has to be written down with some detail later.  Suffice it to say for now that we discovered an amazing couple outside of Granum, Alberta….and that ‘our’ Max was waiting for us to drive south on highway 2 to bring him back to his new home.
 
Right now though, Max is nestled under my computer chair…nose almost touching my toes.  He had a big day today and it is quite a leap becoming a ‘city’ dog after life in the country.
 
He woke at 4:00 a.m., nudging me and asking if I realized that he was a farm dog and that I should rise and shine!  So, in my jammies, we were out walking the neighbourhood by 4:30 and as I looked at his tentativenss, I had to have a small cry…he was so beautiful and he was looking up to me for assurance.
 
We were at the Wal-Mart store for their opening at 8:00 a.m. and Max was very enthusiastic about the toys, the kennel and the treats that I had in tow.  Then off we headed for a day of chaperoning my son’s marching band practice.  It came to the point that Max was introduced over the huge PA system because he was such a ‘hit’ with a zillion band members.  He was so friendly as each new person greeted him…and no matter where he was, if I called his name, he charged toward me, a seeming huge smile on his precious face.  He and I enjoyed running and playing in the open fields and when we sat, we just enjoyed the utter peacefulness of one anothers company.
 
 
We’ve only just returned from a walk around our entire circle, the tour of the park and a visit with a dear neighbour and her children.  Max is absolutely exhausted…but, I think, happy!  And I too, am filled to overflowing, with joy and gratitude.
 
Welcome home Max!

Trees and Birds

I’ve been continuing to read Eckhart Tolle’s recent book and am welcoming spring/summer at the same time.  I watch the birds gathering at my bird feeder, feeding.  I watch them setting down on my studio roof and sitting in the small branches of May. I watch the parent birds fly back and forth, to and from my neighbour’s wall vent…small movements vibrate from the nest within. And as I watch, I have so much assurance and peacefulness inside me.
 
 
 
"Lost" by David Wagoner
This is the poem Oprah read during the Chapter 5 webcast. David Wagoner is an award-winning poet and novelist.

'Lost' by David Wagoner.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Transitions

I am celebrating the beauty of my children…in my head…AND in my heart!I have been a witness to the process of three children growing into young and lovely adults… ‘creating their own lives,’ as I look at the decisions they have made…the way they value good friendships, learning and kindness.  They, all three, are a testament to goodness in a sometimes-cruel world.  I am so very proud of them!  I see clearly, just recently, how I have also been a primary influence in the formation of their identities and so I am also celebrating, as a result, who I am.
 
There have been so many tears the past few months…but these, most recently, are happy tears!  My life feels filled to overflowing…a wedding…two graduations…and three children who have gifted me with a rich and beautiful life.  Thank you, my darlings!

Spring and ‘The New”

The sunshine of the past few days has been good for my heart and I am celebrating the birth of this morning.  I am fully present to the being-ness and that gives me joy.  A stack of student poetry sits between my tummy and the keyboard and it is a gift to me.  Young people have poet’s hearts and I find myself both uplifted and touched by their words.  This has been a ‘different’ sort of year in my teaching and many experiences/situations have impacted that, but beneath the surface new magic has permeated everything and I am pleased with that.
 
I am learning so much as I read the book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose and I am being reassured and encouraged by its message.  Eckhart Tolle has inspired me to see that absolute treasure that I am (and that each of you ARE) and to separate myself from past stories and events.  While intellectually, we can all connect with the pain and suffering that others have brought us or that we have brought ourselves, we needn’t cling to this suffering for the moment.  We are free to be our higher selves…calm and disconnected from the egos of others and their choices and actions…more aware of the involvement of our own egos.  Every day is a new awakening, as we live consciously rather than unconsciously…every action is a choice and a new awareness.

Bo-Diddley

I attended a Bo Diddley concert…collected his signature and that of his drummer, just a few years ago.  I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to hear this high-spirited performer…who felt rock at his core!  Just yesterday, June 2, he passed away.  I will always remember him!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) —

Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock ‘n’ roll whose distinctive ”shave and a haircut, two bits” rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.

Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Fla., spokeswoman Susan Clary said. He had suffered a heart attack in August, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. Doctors said the stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

Diddley appreciated the honors he received, ”but it didn’t put no figures in my checkbook.”

”If you ain’t got no money, ain’t nobody calls you honey,” he quipped.

The name Bo Diddley came from other youngsters when he was growing up in Chicago, he said in a 1999 interview.

”I don’t know where the kids got it, but the kids in grammar school gave me that name,” he said, adding that he liked it so it became his stage name. Other times, he gave somewhat differing stories on where he got the name. Some experts believe a possible source for the name is a one-string instrument used in traditional blues music called a diddley bow.

His first single, ”Bo Diddley,” introduced record buyers in 1955 to his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as ”shave and a haircut, two bits.” The B side, ”I’m a Man,” with its slightly humorous take on macho pride, also became a rock standard.

The company that issued his early songs was Chess-Checkers records, the storied Chicago-based labels that also recorded Chuck Berry and other stars.

Howard Kramer, assistant curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, said in 2006 that Diddley’s Chess recordings ”stand among the best singular recordings of the 20th century.”

Diddley’s other major songs included, ”Say Man,” ”You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover,” ”Shave and a Haircut,” ”Uncle John,” ”Who Do You Love?” and ”The Mule.”

Diddley’s influence was felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Buddy Holly borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song ”Not Fade Away.”

The Rolling Stones’ bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964. The following year, another British band, the Yardbirds, had a Top 20 hit in the U.S. with their version of ”I’m a Man.”

Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.

”He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic,” E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

Many other artists, including the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello copied aspects of Diddley’s style.

Growing up, Diddley said he had no musical idols, and he wasn’t entirely pleased that others drew on his innovations.

”I don’t like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it,” he said. ”I don’t have any idols I copied after.”

”They copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up. It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there,” he said.

Despite his success, Diddley claimed he only received a small portion of the money he made during his career. Partly as a result, he continued to tour and record music until his stroke. Between tours, he made his home near Gainesville in north Florida.

”Seventy ain’t nothing but a damn number,” he told The Associated Press in 1999. ”I’m writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain’t quit yet.”

Diddley, like other artists of his generations, was paid a flat fee for his recordings and said he received no royalty payments on record sales. He also said he was never paid for many of his performances.

”I am owed. I’ve never got paid,” he said. ”A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun.”

In the early 1950s, Diddley said, disc jockeys called his type of music, ”Jungle Music.” It was Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with inventing the term ”rock ‘n’ roll.”

Diddley said Freed was talking about him, when he introduced him, saying, ”Here is a man with an original sound, who is going to rock and roll you right out of your seat.”

Diddley won attention from a new generation in 1989 when he took part in the ”Bo Knows” ad campaign for Nike, built around football and baseball star Bo Jackson. Commenting on Jackson’s guitar skills, Diddley turned to the camera and said, ”He don’t know Diddley.”

”I never could figure out what it had to do with shoes, but it worked,” Diddley said. ”I got into a lot of new front rooms on the tube.”

Born as Ellas Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Miss., Diddley was later adopted by his mother’s cousin and took on the name Ellis McDaniel, which his wife always called him.

When he was 5, his family moved to Chicago, where he learned the violin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He learned guitar at 10 and entertained passers-by on street corners.

By his early teens, Diddley was playing Chicago’s Maxwell Street.

”I came out of school and made something out of myself. I am known all over the globe, all over the world. There are guys who have done a lot of things that don’t have the same impact that I had,” he said.