Those readers who know me, know that for almost two months, I’ve been sequestered to the family room with Max, my border collie. He’s been struggling, but at the moment, seems to have rallied after being put on a regime of medications that are helping him with the anxiety of pain and now, even tackling the inflammation. In the meantime, we sleep here….together. Thanks to those who have supported me. For now, Max is making it up and down stairs, able to look out the window from his red sofa and is doing a walk around our urban circle each day.
There have been a number of events that have marked this season for me. I’m just going to go through and gather from photos in my archives and stick them in here…I’m going to keep the writing brief. This year, the darkness has really impacted me and I like that neighbours have strung up outdoor lights on their houses so early. Christmas lights seem to dispel that cold and isolating feeling that might come with the darkness of winter.
Before I post the first photo, I’d like to say that early in December, I ordered my gifts on line for the first time. In the last week, I’ve received word that of all these, 100%, are delayed. It’s 5 in the morning on a holiday Monday and I’m sitting here laughing about this. Max is sound asleep on our wee cot, just behind me.
Steven and me after his very first daycare Christmas concert. A brief video is posted below.
My Auntie Eleanor with a portrait I painted of her for her 90th birthday. I love her so.
Daily walks at the Bow River fill me with a peacefulness. I like to watch and learn from the various species that share this time with me. I post a lot of those observations, here.
I did sponge printmaking with my grandson. He’s made home made gifts for everyone this year.
Already, the male sparrow has taken up residence in the neighbour’s vent. I will enjoy another springtime of observations…my sixth year of watching these families come and go.
Pat and I went to the Marda Loop Justice Film Festival again this year, this time being joined by Janet and Mary. It was an inspiring experience. I really learn so much when I attend this festival. Thanks to all organizers.
When Wendy hosts a dinner party, the food is sooo scrumptious. Happy birthday, Lauraine!! Love the food, the conversation and all of the laughter. Thank you, friends!
We attended the Bragg Creek artisan’s sale and I picked up my beautiful honey from Alvise and Paola. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without seeing them. A quick stop at the coffee shop to hug Randy and Jane…an ice cream. Nanny Linda, it was so good to share this time with you.
A back yard snowman with Steven, Erin and Linda. Fun in the snow!
I was able to paint Prince for my dear friend, Linda. I’m pretty sad that she’ll be on her way back to London very soon. I treasure her and I’m going to miss her very much.
Few people know that I’m deep in the application process for the Alberta University of the Arts BFA program. The day that my sister, Val, contacted me that she had achieved her PhD, I was inspired to take this step, regardless the cost or the struggles that might come up. In 1997, I took a sabbatical year to complete my third year of my BFA. That’s when I met Bobby. I’ve always been labeled a self-taught artist and I’ve really wanted to pursue my dream of actually ‘being’ an artist. At this ripe age, it might be silly, but ‘OH WELL’. When I went to the open house and orientation to the program, I stopped in to the Illingworth Kerr gallery and really enjoyed the exhibit, Thing to Wear.
Daughter, Cayley, and I were able to celebrate with Irene for her 70th birthday. What a gorgeous setting at the Ruberto Ostberg Gallery. Thank you, Phil, for the invite and your always-warm-hospitality. We love you so much.
Linda and I went down to the Central Library to enjoy the exhibit of friend, Allan Rosales. At this point in the season, I was beginning to feel unstuck. I was beginning to feel lighter and like my feet were coming unglued from a deep muddy mire of grief. It isn’t as though the losses of the past year were gone…it’s just that the grief was letting go of me and letting me stretch back into my life. Good to bump into my cherished friend, Wendy.
My former student, Billy, asked if I would paint a tree on a headboard that he was creating and I was happy to do it for a few beautiful bottles of red wine. I was spending my days with Max anyway. These sorts of projects became opportunities. I would see Billy again…a pleasure.
I reconnected with Joan. My friend, Sheila, should be given credit for this because no matter how many years slip by, she has remained a friend over all. I’m so grateful. My heart is now open to share lunch with Joan on Fridays for as long as I can. On a recent visit, Joan and I shared her books-to-read titles, stopping every so often to leaf through pages and talk about the subjects of these books. Joan is such an influence on me. Over the years she has given me so much in the way of ideas. I love you, Joan.
My parish is my community of faith. I love St. Albert the Great. I love the narrative we share and the rituals of love, hope and peace. I have found strength in this space over many years. I’m grateful for this manger…and for the pure potential that I find in this space.
My cousin, Peter, took me out for a lunch to Earl’s restaurant. I was so happy to get to do something so special. I just don’t get out to dine. It was fun. Peter is one of my dearest cousins, always supporting and loving me. No photo of him here, but, our server was a former student of mine, Nicole, so we grabbed this snap.
Pat and I never did catch up to these guys…but we were all at the Holiday Train’s arrival at Anderson’s station. I left my phone at home, so no photos for me this year. But, that was perfectly fine because we were really swept up in the experience. Here, Erin, Doug and Steven, with the Holiday Train in the background. A great initiative for the food banks across Canada.
All three of my children were with me to decorate my tree this year…along with Steven and Linda. This means so much to me. I know that at some point all three of them will have families and traditions of their own and won’t be able to do this. But, this year it worked out and I’m always going to remember it. I am grateful for you, Erin, Cayley and James.
I’m going to miss you, sister-friend! Thanks, Linda, for coming downtown with me for the Sybil Andrews exhibit.
Extraordinary Objects. I was boggled by this porcelain work!
Thanks to Trevor for helping me to deal with this leak. I’m so sorry that I missed Mark’s birthday, but I was so relieved to get this managed. I had my own frozen Niagara Falls escaping the outdoor faucet. Crisis averted.
Dawn asked me to paint poppies for her Mom’s 80th birthday, so this happened. I taught Dawn’s son, Justin, and beautiful daughter, Jess. I will always be connected to this family. May you have a magical year!
Then I made Party Mix…lots of it! lol
I was welcomed into the Saint John Henry Newman circle and did some teaching before the Christmas break. I was so excited to connect with Hollee, another former student of mine. I snapped a few photographs of her grade six classroom because I felt so proud of her and so excited. We embraced often. We both have so many fond memories of those years in Junior High School. Thanks so much, Louise and Carl and to Lorelie.
My neighbourhood is lit up!
My daughter and her partner and their two bands, Darktime and Napalmpom, participated in Merry Keithmas at the Palomino, to raise funds for Calgary Food Bank. I had a very fun time seeing Cayley performing Stones tunes.
I drove to Didsbury to share in the annual Christmas open house organized by University-friend, Brian. Juan and Brian, this year’s event was another very special time. Glad to have connected with so many wonderful people. Your home is warm and welcoming and so absolutely spectacular! The food, (pickled sausage, lettuce wraps, pulled pork, etc etc) was so delicious! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. May you be richly blessed for the coming year.
Christmas baking, this year, was a major blitz. It was a full day of chaos. But, I can not tell you how wonderful it was to share time with these ladies. Visits came in the form of nephew, John, toting coffee for people and treats for Max. Thank you, John! I love you! Following that, we all shared in a very special Facetime event with my brother, Cliff, during lunch. These two visits pretty much made my Christmas already!
The bell that friend, Pat, gave to Steven. I love these two and I’m grateful that they come to Mass with me.
Winter walks at the Bow River are peaceful and help to recharge me. I’m grateful for all of the lessons that the river teaches me.
Mikey’s on 12th, with friends Dan, Lauraine and Wendy…treasured time and terrific tacos!
I’m wishing all of you and your loved ones Peace on Earth….and Good Will to All! Rest up…there are sure to be bumps along the way.