Sam Baker

Of all of the acts at the folk festival this year,  Sam Baker was the performer who most spoke to my heart, with his simple narratives and his powerful messages.   I left the Sunday afternoon workshop in tears, after hearing his song, Broken Fingers and then Angels…both powerful and meant for me!  Please click on the hyperlink contained here, in order to read his story and the other, to sit and listen quietly to the song, Broken Fingers.  Given my journey this year, with a single broken finger on my dominant hand, I can only imagine what Sam’s efforts were in order to feel ‘whole’ again.  A powerful story!

I love the feeling of community that is a part of the annual Calgary Folk Festival…this was definitely another highlight to summer for me!

Simple Pleasures

Peanutmeister is curled into my arms at the computer desk…this is his posture every morning!  He is so beautiful and gentle and has gone through much in this adaptation, first losing his dearest friend, Laurie-dog, and now adjusting to an energetic puppy!  I enjoy this time in the morning when I respond to my e-mails and he watches the text move across my page and purrs.

The amazing thing about summer is that it gives me the opportunity to go on  dreamy  river walks.  Typically, Max gets one ‘special’ walk a day and two exercise walks besides.  For the special walk, I choose a place where we can enjoy a bit of wildness; the river, bird watching and ‘alone’ time.  We have seen graceful deer on river islands, fishermen  in boats drifting past…cormorants and pelicans…mother ducks and their youngsters.  Beautiful times shared! At the end of this walk time I feel energized and happy…and oh so blessed!

The day before yesterday we went to the weir, where in summer the pelicans gather like white boats on the Bow River.  At the weir, the Pelicans line up like sentinels to fish as the ‘big ones’ come over the rushing drop of water.

Yesterday, we headed north on our ridge and down past the community of Douglasdale.  The air was stirred with the promise of an afternoon storm and so the birds, the light on the trees….everything, was filled with a strange ‘charge’…electrified!  I said aloud over and over again, “I love this.  I absolutely love this!”  Our exercise walk in the evening was equally wonderful as everything was so fresh after the rain.  I felt my lungs completely open to the air and my young pooch walked with  a bounce in his step.

At the end of the day, I look at my Maxter and I am so happy for the simplicity of my life right now…for the joy of being completely present to my life.

My Teacher and Friend

I received news yesterday that my friend of many years, Pauline McGeorge, passed away on July 2nd in Kaslo, B.C.  She has had tremendous influence on me as an artist, but primarily, as a person.  We have shared letters and art invitations over many years as I first met Pauline in 1973 when I began my work in the art department at the University of Lethbridge.  The news of her passing actually influences me to pursue my art…to contribute to the world…and to see that by teaching art, I can also carry a similar positive influence with my students.  Pauline will continue to be present to me in my studio and I will never forget her.  I will do everything in my power to attend the celebration of her life out in Argenta in August.


The Piece Maker

A friend of mine in the east has opened up a blog. I am very proud of her as it shows some of the projects that she does.  She creates exquisite folk art with amazing technique.  She is a fantastic baker, cook, home maker, mother and has created a beautiful home.  I hope that you will stop in and look at The Piece Maker’s blog.

See her beautiful Etsy Shop at Wooden Needle Nook.

A New Earth: Book Talk

I have read most of Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Reading the book came out of a need through the Springtime.  Prior to that time, I thought that the life that I was creating was so satisfactory and that everything was ‘comfortable’ and relationships were ‘steadfast’.  Shortly thereafter, things came crashing down around me.  Out of that huge shift, I meditated/prayed/felt deeply and I decided that in order to move forward in a healthy way, I would need to have a huge commitment to awakening to a new way of BEING.  While I had already had a whole number of ‘stories’ of struggle and heartache in my life, I finally became CONNECTED in a negative way to this new story and felt a sense of hopelessness and could not see myself ever feeling whole again.

This book does not provide ‘the answer’, but it does provide a vehicle for my experience of personal growth.  I have decided, (since training a puppy interspersed with studio painting seems to be my summer-story), that intellectually/spiritually, I would explore my inner landscape and open to myself and whatever that landscape had to offer me.

My blog will be a place where I can explore the concepts that have been key along the way.  I will explore them in a general way here in this public forum, and will keep a personal journal of the specifics of how these concepts relate to my personal experience.  As I write, my puppy sleeps at my feet.  It is a wonderful respite!

This morning’s blog will hold just a couple of insights that I can apply from the reading of Chapter One. My individual fears, anger and doubts contribute to an overall collective in the world.  When I put out my fears, hurt and doubt into the world; my family, my circle of friends or even in a grocery line-up, I am contributing to a greater universal experience.  It is essential that I observe, that I DO have old stories in my head, but that I needn’t connect with those stories…but to observe them and accept them, without connection.  I will give these stories less energy if I consciously observe them…and what my mind is saying…but without identification.  Acceptance to the feelings is key, without thinking, analyzing and judging.

Eco Warrior Alert!

I have received a list of ecologically sound practices for your summer vacation from my young Eco Warrior living in Rodney, Ontario.  I am providing you with this list and encourage all of you to participate, where you can, this summer.  Hyperlinks are new for me in the blogging world, so I hope you will tolerate my goofing around with them for awhile.  I think that they will provide me with an alternative to cutting and pasting information that I think is relevant and enjoy on this blog.  You, the reader, can then choose.

Thank you, Eric, for the thought that went into creating this list and perhaps you can send me a photograph of the school garden that you are maintaining through the summer and I can post it here.  I think you would enjoy the book, Dear Mr. Henshaw for your summer reading…the note, following your list, gave me that idea.

Here is your list for summer energy savers.

1. Use daylight, no lamps in the day time
2.turn down A.C.
3. play outside instead of watching TV
4.use a programmable thermostat to lower A.C. when your not at home.
%.wash clothes in cold water
6. change over light bulbs to low energy type.
7. make your own Earth Hour with your friends.
8. walk or ride your bike instead of driving your car
9. use the BBQ instead of the oven or stove
10. tell everyone you know about this list.

Hope you like my list. Thank you for asking me to make one for you.
Mrs.Ford made me the official ECO Warrior of my school and a few other kids
too.We check classrooms at recess to make sure the lights are off. The
teachers room is off limits to the Eco team. The teachers room has many
windows and the lights are still on and they don’t recycle very good.They
would sure get a ticket if I could go in there. hahaha

A Treasured Summer Moment 2009


Well, the flight was cancelled/grounded yesterday!  My son has been held up in the airport hotel for 24 hours…mechanical issues.  As of this very moment, the band should be lifting off, instruments and all, heading for Frankfurt, Germany first and then onto Italy.  I am hoping that the lost day does not serve as a detriment to their competition performance.
In the meantime, Max and I are spending time between training and the studio…getting it up and functioning for the next round of paintings.  The references have been selected and work space sorted out.  However, I’ve made some decisions to build racks in the space as I’m feeling very crowded and my large collection of stretcher bars will not be used until this finger can manage the stretching.
Max is making fast-track progress in his training.  He understands and responds to both verbal and visual cues for sit, stay, down and come…and just today, after accessing some information on the internet, he has made progress with the concept of ‘Heel’ which is in my language, "Let’s go Max!"  I couldn’t understand why he was jumping up, barking and yipping when I would say ‘Walk’ or ‘Heel’, but since, have learned that I need to get a tad closer to Max’s level.  The real gain is made initially when the dog makes an association with you…follows what you are doing…it’s more the connection between you that needs to be established.  In public places or in busy areas, what is key is that Max learns to respond when I respond and to keep tracking me. 
Max is also completely house trained :0)…going to the front door for a ‘whiz’…and the back door for the other.  This actually puts a smile on my face because he has made so many connections the past two weeks.  I am so grateful for this pooch who has filled me with wonderful-NESS again.  While I have been blindsided with loss the last while, I am learning that I can move on, only differently. I honour my Laurie-dog’s life by being a good and consistent dog owner and by relishing every minute of this new adventure.

Last Parade

Max and I headed down by C-train…(adult pass for puppies and Moms) to the Stampede Parade.  For years, I’ve attended this event…first, when my children were young and they straddled their dad’s neck to see the floats and fun!  Next began the phase of my life titled, BAND PARENT…as all three of my children marched.  And it was awesome!  There were many years of watching field shows at the Round Up Center, the University, the stadium and various other venues.  Most shows would bring me to tears as the arrangements, both musically and visually were always wonderful…telling a story…creating images. 
Day after tomorrow, my youngest will head for the airport and fly to Milan in Italy where he will be competing in a show titled Quest.  It is a beautiful show and I will be praying that he does well.  He will then be visiting a number of the places I visited last summer and will, among other things, play on the steps of the Vatican.  I can only imagine how spine-tingling that experience will be!
This summer closes another door…and I can hardly wait to see then, what doors will open.  My middle-child is finished her University years…my first-born, married…and my son moving on to Mount Royal College.  They are full of possibilities…and it is magical.  I am a very proud mother.  YA HOO!!