Beginning mid-January, my mind was awash. My brother, John, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (dammit) in hospital and then faced an agonizing three months in hospital, at home and then in hospice until his death on April 21. Those of you who know me…those of you who spent time with me….those of you who connected at all with me through that time, know, in part, what I was going through and how I was experiencing life.
Off of work for three months, things were tight and so I thought to sell some older art work on Kijiji. (Artists, don’t do it…don’t ever do it! lol) It wasn’t until John died, and I headed, with tremendous resolve, to the studio to paint that I discovered a missing painting and not just a wee little thing, but a giant colourful framed floral piece that was 5 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot…or so I remember it.
The other habit I have, however, is the habit of visiting out in the studio with friends and family. It’s a comfortable spot. Once chatting away, it isn’t an unusual thing to hear, “Oh, Kath, I like that painting.” If I hear those words, I go into auto pilot and typically say, “If you like it, then it’s yours. I want you to have it.”
What I need to ask my readers is…did this happen to you? Did you come into my studio one day for a friendly visit…and leave with a huge floral painting? May I refresh your memory? I’m posting a photograph here. If you have this hanging on your wall, please let me know. It’s not that I would ask you to return it, I simply want to know what/who I’ve forgotten. I want to know where this painting lives.
I want to know that there was NOT a heist (after all, nothing else was disappeared). This is a weird story, I know. It gets more weird…but, I’m not going there for now.
Dad, if you’re reading this…I know it will freak you out. Sorry.
Yesterday saw us traveling north on Highway 2 to do a bit of an exploration of Olds, Alberta. Both Pat and I had heard a CBC radio interview about the Highway 27 Sculpture Pathway and both wanted to see it. Cayley just came along for the ride. What a beautiful day!!
It seemed that we sailed there…when sister-friends are together, conversation seems to carry them and quickly! A short jaunt on a sunny summer day, Calgarians can be in Olds in an hour tops.
There was a lovely walkway, edged with beautiful landscaping. All three of us agreed that at some point the city will have to relax the parking restrictions on at least one side of the blvd that edges the park. Pat parked her car, with permission, in front of a very welcoming real estate office on the 27. We enjoyed our casual engagement with the sculpture, as well as sharing a personal critique of the sculptures. Read about the beginnings of this vision here.
From the sculpture garden, we began our exploration of Olds, first looking at the residential areas and then locating the amenities, including churches, sporting facilities and other venues of interest. We started off at Centennial Park.
Noteworthy, I thought, was the Horseshoe Pitch.
The Centennial Park offered a splash park (presently closed), a series of historical plaques informing us of the relevance of various buildings, early settlers and businesses.
I was very enthusiastic about the building facades…
A particularly interesting venue was Pandora’s Boox, providing for opportunities to game, read and drink nice teas and coffee. Housed in a 1910 Bank building, this space had great charm and seemed to be a bit of a hub.
I also absolutely loved this little shop…a real community self care spot. I was grateful for the tour offered up by the proprietor. Awesome, Olds Town Square.
By the time we located and explored the large number of churches and saw the various parts of the town, it was time to eat and we decided to try out the Mad Greeks.
Nummers! Good choice! Cayley and I enjoyed a regular meat Donair, combined with a Greek Salad at 11.00. Pat enjoyed a massive Caesar Salad with a side of Garlic Toast, followed by a very light cheese cake. Fresh food produced by a lovely couple.
From lunch, well, we met up with City TV, of course! Ranked last by Macleans??? Mountain View County??? Are you kidding???
This little interview was followed by a bit more of a shop wander and then off we were to discover Olds College and their Botonical gardens. Amazing stuff, people!
This is a destination that every Albertan would enjoy! I felt like yesterday was a really relaxing day and that I had the opportunity to see new things. We followed our walk at Olds College with an icy cold lemonade from Tim Horton’s and east and south we headed. Thank you, Pat! Another great adventure!
My son, Pat and I attended the first Thursday event on August 1st. Recently, this exhibit includes the work by the amazing Nick Cave. I’m so happy that we had opportunity to enjoy this work. Very provocative, unique and obviously born of tremendous industry. There is also such depth of meaning and I’ve tried to include some of the background here.
First Thursday was a most wonderful evening. I enjoyed the company of both Pat and James. We wandered the gift shop for a while and I found some lovely books for my grandson, things that I’m certain he will enjoy.
I loved the conversation and the company. Another great night in YYC! I’ve heard many people complain that Calgary is a tough city for making connections or sharing in community. My own experience is one where I simply don’t have enough time to take in all of the events that are absolutely accessible. While the sprawl does create a physical distance between many of my friends and myself, it is always a good idea to meet in the middle.
I still enjoyed my time at the river, but at this time, already began to suspect that something was up with the female Bald Eagle. Dad seemed to have assumed all of the duties and there was even the appearance of a sub Adult, maybe 3 or 4 years of age. I took a close up shot of Dad’s talons to confirm that it was him, although I’ve become accustomed to his handsome face.
The morning I took my tent over to set up in my grandson’s back yard was the last day I saw Mrs. alive at the river. I didn’t know it then, but the female Bald Eagle’s beautiful and peaceful time with me at the Bow River’s edge would be her last and so I will always treasure the archive of photographs my readers might enjoy, here.
I kind of chuckle about that sentence as I leave it behind in my first paragraph, imagining that anyone at all might read the thoughts or passage of time shared by a 64 year old woman. I feel some days as though I am still a young girl who marvels at the beauty and rich loam of the mysterious gully across from my home on Market Street. I don’t feel different and yet so many years and so many places have gone by!
When in doubt about how a camping trip might be arranged between a Gramma and her Grandson, it is best not to let the logistics interfere with the experience, and so, sometimes you just have to go ahead and make things happen.
Little did I know that a tent would simply provide yet another way for trucks and diggers to be celebrated. In the tent we went with the big yellow trucks…and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Thank you, Linda, for our tea and snacks. Steven and I headed out to a very busy construction site. Once returned, Gramma rolled up her sleeping bags and packed up her tent and was on her way. A call for severe thunderstorms that afternoon, made this call, the safe call.
The river is no longer silty and the clarity of the water in the morning, allowed beautiful hues of turquoise and green to shine through. Max is always my trusted companion on these early morning walks.
First things first…the fly sheet goes down. ‘Say fly sheet, Steven.’
There was an orangy-yellow glow to everything that evening at the river. I watched two beaver for almost a half hour before walking north west and finding Mrs. quietly observing her world from above. That night I confirmed that her talons on the left had damage.
There we were at Anderson Station, bright and early. Pat was so very kind to share her Sunday tickets, a gift from Ziggy and family, with me. I will always be grateful because Sunday ended up being a great day for workshops and new discoveries at the Calgary Folk Music Festival!
With an 8:30 departure, we found ourselves setting out our tarp and setting up our lawn chairs at the Main Stage around 10:00. Again, we had a marvelous location and I felt really excited about what the day would hold. I really enjoy Pat’s company, our conversations and the fact that we are both open to adventure and surprises. We brought Pat’s treats for the first part of our morning…nummy B.C. cherries, moist rhubarb cake (love her baking!) a huge bag of Hawkin’s Cheezies and mints, (the hard candy type with the dab of chocolate in the middle).
Walking past the CKUA tent and on our way to the Rigstar Stage 5, we happened upon an interview with Ndidi O. BAM! What a magical start to our day!
After her song, Maybe the Last Time, Pat and I headed to our first workshop of the day, Hear Your Voice at the Rigstar.
This was an eclectic stage, so there wasn’t so much jamming as you might typically experience, but it was a beautifully supportive stage. T. Buckley, Logan Staats, Beverly Glenn-Copeland and Ramy Essam…each one very unique in their approach to both song writing and performance. This was an animated stage. It was a perfect mix and the audience was receptive. Ramy Essam and Beverly Glenn-Copeland were the surprises here.
We didn’t take much of a break because this stage set us up for a powerful day of music. We headed for the Community Natural Foods Stage 6 and set ourselves down along the edge of the tent, but in the shade. The stage show was titled Dance Hall Moonshine and indeed, it was a Dance Hall. On stage; Ndidi O, Valerie June, Cedric Burnside and Yissy Garcia and Bandancha. Cedric Burnside was the surprise here. This show was full of strong beats and drew in the crowds.
We decided to grab our lunch from our Mainstage backpacks and to find spots at Stage 6 again, beginning with Calgary’s own Lab Coast. We moved ourselves quite a distance from the stage because the sound seemed really big (too big)…so, we ate our lunch next to the new Cannabis Consumption site. lol
At 1:55, Fantastic Bombastic began with me moving into a central position under the tent. I knew that this would be a lively stage, featuring musicians; The Harpoonist and the Axe Murder, Sam Lewis, Reel in Dimes and Freak Motif. And it was lively! What fun. This stage got the win for the greatest collaborative jams…there was such chemistry, while all-the-while each musicians particular genre and music was evident. Everyone in the tent was up and moving. It was a very powerful experience.
This stage was the highlight for me. I had marked Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s concert on my map, for 2:20, but there was no way I could see myself leaving bopping stage! Grateful that I caught him in the morning.
Folk fest requires that I enjoy several rituals throughout its course, but given the usual four days, these rituals can be spread over the entire festival. This year, given two days, provided by dear friends, Linda and Pat…I couldn’t possibly do everything. I didn’t take time in the merchandise tent this year, nor did I visit the artisan fair. I did, however, take note of what activities were happening in the children’s section as I imagined my grandson attending next year. One has to prioritize. I didn’t miss iced cold lemonade though and Pat and I got a cup on our way to the Field Law Stage 3.
I thought that because this was Pat’s first folk fest experience, we should go into the Field Law via the beer gardens. Now, typically, folk fest sees me enjoying a single cold beer at this stage. But this year, oh my, given that the Field Law is physically open to the beer gardens, I found it extremely crowded, elbow to elbow and very noisy. Standing room only was located directly in front of the biffs. It just wasn’t my cup of tea although it was evident that the music was phenomenal. I sat for three songs and Pat stood where space was more available on the outside fringe. She was such a good sport. At this stage; Hamsa Hamsa, Ramy Essam, Mdou Moctoar and Cedric Burnside. I was happy that we had earlier enjoyed two of these.
Off we went to the National for Channel Crossers; Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls, Mekons, Colter Wall and We Banjo 3. In the intense heat of the day, Pat was very observant and found us comfy seats under a tent, compliments of the National. Wowsah! What luck! It was under this tent that a former student dropped by and grabbed a hug and our annual selfie. It always seems I bump into Brent at folk festival. So wonderful to see these young kids grow up! This stage was a bopping Celtic sort of country blend. The sound wasn’t good, although the National stage is usually pretty good. The standout for me, here, was We Banjo 3. They engaged the audience and got things bopping. We greeted Colter Wall after the performance. We thought he was very brave during the stage performance as his placement with the other musicians didn’t seem to be very well thought out. Sound for his very traditional country music was better at the evening stage, but again, not my cup of tea. It’s obvious there is a huge following of this 24 year old’s music, regardless.
By this time, it was time to head for the ATB Mainstage where the lineup included Della Mae, Valerie June, Colter Wall and the finale The Strumbellas. I really found Valerie June was one of the most unique artists, with a very beautiful presence on stage. Funny how she stepped out, put her big green bag down next to the drummer and when she left, she said, “good night” and went and picked up her bag and walked off. No messing around.
Pat and I went, during Colter Wall’s performance to seek out french fries and coffees and returned to our spots with gigantic hot dogs from the Red Wagon food truck. Mine was slathered in cheese, sauerkraut and onion…the onion slightly undercooked. We chowed down while watching Colter’s fans completely engage his music. His vocals are his strength, but for now, he is delivering a lot of covers.
The finale act was very entertaining and the entire island was moving rhythmically side to side and singing along. I love folk fest evenings…the brilliant sky fading from blue to darker blue to black…the lantern parade…huge bubbles spilling into the air…beach balls bouncing through the crowd and finally, on the evening of the 40th anniversary, fireworks! Hugs from friends, Jocelyn and Mark…and we were on our way…another beautiful folk festival thanks to my friends. We crammed a lot of music into our day! Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Ziggy. Thank you, Ziggy’s family!
Forty years since the beginnings of summer at the edge of our beautiful river and the celebration of music, community and food! This year was the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s 40th anniversary! And, surprise! Things are a little tight for me this summer and I planned that I wouldn’t partake this year.
Everything turned around for me when my sister-friend, Linda, told me that she’d treat me to a night at the festival, if I’d join her for Sheila-E. What??? Of course I would go!! I was speechless and offered snacks and dinner as an exchange. (hardly an equivalent!)
Friday at noon, we headed out from Anderson station. My rituals each year have included the C Train ride and the walk with other folkies from the 1st Street stop down to the site. Parking downtown has always been a bit of a worry for me. This year was the first year, though, that I actually felt really weary as I headed home after the night’s main stage performances, so I might be reconsidering my mode of transport in future.
We set up our tarp at the ATB Mainstage and I was really happy to discover that friends, Jocelyn and Mark were parked right to our right. Our location was forward of the walk path by a long shot and this year, to the left, near the dancing section. I decided we had great spots for the evening shows and that I would have great access to step forward and into the front row fray later on. Whoop!
On the way to the National (Stage 4) we stopped at the CKUA tent in order to confirm times for Grant Stovell’s interview with Sheila E.
The National was hosting a very energetic workshop from 3:00 until 4:15, Mujeres Poderosas with Sofia Viola, Yissy Garcia and Bandancha, Sheila E., Los Pachamama y Flor Amargo. It’s really impossible to describe, here, the energy level. A fabulous workshop.
I loved the percussive power at this stage. Yissy Garcia and Bandancha, Los Pachamma y Flor Amargo and Sofia Viola owned that stage. Sheila E. snuck in a bit of percussive stuff on one improvisation piece, I’m thinking because she wanted to let Yissy be the star of this performance, knowing she had a Mainstage spot that night. I really don’t know, but this is the narrative I’ve written into the afternoon. It’s all in the head! It was hot hot hot and our shade kept moving. Click on the images to enlarge.
After this stage, we headed for the CKUA interview and for lunch.
O’ MY! Sheila E. spoke so eloquently…a little about her career, the struggles, her music and her mission. I felt that she was authentic, warm and was very blessed to be sitting this close to her.
Freak Motif provided the musical dynamic through the course of the interview and they are fantastic!
Yissy Garcia and Bandancha led off the evening main acts at 5:45.
This performance was followed by one of my favourite folk fest discoveries, some ten years ago, Ndidi O. What pipes! What heart! I treasured the experience of connecting with her music again.
Dinner break came after Ndidi and Linda and I headed straight for Mediterranean, one of the yummiest meals served at the folk fest. Linda went with the wrap style and I had the plate. For years, I enjoyed the curry that was served, but that business didn’t show up about three years ago and I’ve never found the perfect substitute.
Back we went to our seats to enjoy the food, but not so much the music. You have to be a certain kind of music lover to enjoy the Rheostatics. The band has a strong following, given their forty years of performance and are often considered one of Canada’s iconic bands. For me, their music is a tad of the ‘musical theater’ vein. I like the folk festival because it exposes to music you may not listen to otherwise, but this band just wasn’t my cup of tea. The high point of this performance for me, was when poet Kris Demeanor joined the band in song near the end.
High point of the night came at 8:50! Sheila E kept us all spellbound, and as planned, I headed for the front, coming finally to the second row, with Linda in tow. What a night! Sheila E completely connected with the audience. It was fantastic!
There was just not going to be any beating this performance and so I recommended to Linda that we pack up for the night. I was going home with one of Sheila E.s drumsticks. I was flying high from the vibrancy and execution of a wonderful performance. We walked along to the train, full of music and gratitude. Thank you so much, Linda, for this gift. It was up there with the top musical experiences of my life.
I don’t know how I can ever acknowledge what a joy it has been to have Nigel and Angela in my life. I feel so very blessed. My son and I drove up to Tuscany on Thursday night to enjoy the fruits that came of Nigel’s new pizza stone and his own creativity. As I reflect on my previous posting about ‘good grief’, I have to add to the litany of helpful steps I have taken to journey grief, that the sharing of food and sitting down to the feast table with family and friends, has been invaluable.
Nigel’s close friend, Bassam, was in the circle, as was Angela’s mother, Michele. And let us not forget the most beautiful, Mr. Jones, the cat with the amazing eyes! Conversation and laughter are two very important components to healing. It’s really easy for me to disconnect and more often than not, it takes other people to organize ‘outings’. Just for now, I’m guessing.
I’m including, here, a photo journal of Nigel’s pizza and Angela’s cherry pie…the culinary experience was exceedingly scrumptious. The sharing of time, was so much more.
I’ve put in a request for the dough recipe…apparently, this one has been perfected.
Olive Oil, Romano Cheese and Ground Pepper
Next…Mozzarella Cheese, Home Made Tomato Sauce, Blue Cheese and Pear
At this point, the lattice was being constructed for the cherry pie…nummy!
A moment for a selfie…
Prosciutto, Homemade Tomato sauce, Mozzarella and Olives.
Such a great send off…a filling made from B.C. cherries and a lovely rich pastry! Thank you, Angela!
My friend, Pat, invited me for a beautiful Sunday afternoon experience in the Parkland Community. I have always really enjoyed hearing Pat’s pride in her community and I do see it as an exemplar of what community can be, while living in the suburbs of Calgary. This community has got it ‘going on’ and with the leadership of a few very motivated community members (there are a few in every community) and the hard work, commitment and creativity of a strong membership, Parkland has much to be proud of.
The gates were opened up last Sunday and in the afternoon a gathering of people, carrying their lawn chairs and snacks, arrived at two in the afternoon for two amazing sets of blues music offered by entertaining storyteller, Tim Williams. This weekend, Sunday, will find the attendees enjoying the music of Houston’s Hogan and Moss.
After the relaxing time in the sunshine, Pat and I crossed the road to see the community gardens and the wonderful public art; murals, mosaic and ironwork. Even the siding and landscaping demonstrates the thoughtful investment of the Parkland community. Fantastic stuff. Gratitude to Pat for inviting me into the glory of summer!
New siding, textures and colour for the building.
Vintage signage has been installed, with thoughts of creating a protective covering, so that it will remain an archive of earlier times and the establishment of the original building of the Community Center.
The creation of storage included the narrative of the sorts of programs and offerings come with the membership in this community, including the book club that I so desperately would like to join. (no members outside of the community…dang!)
Friend, Michelena Bamford of Wolf Willow Studio, coordinated and created beautiful mosaic work, along with community members. I love that she included elements of the landscape and wildlife that thrives in our deep south. The book club members contributed by learning how to create mosaic, but also broke up the pieces of glass for others to use. Love this Magpie! It’s a favourite piece!
Animal tracks represent the wildlife typically encountered in our home along the river.
One of the original pieces of art that was created for the community some years ago. I love the nostalgia that this piece captures.
And then there are the gardens…beautiful and carefully planned and maintained!
Not only is this a magical garden, but I enjoyed a magical day in Parkland Community!
This week has been filled with the magic of flight, whether that is metaphoric or quite literal. This is the time of the season when every variety of wee bird or raptor seems to be in flight training and this year’s observations are even more magical because this is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission and the successful landing on the moon.
Here, a wee Northern Flicker, sound asleep OR knocked out on a paved pathway near the edge of the Bow River. I thought he may have come to a sad ending, having likely fledged from a nearby tree, but, at my prompting, he stirred, panicked and disappeared into the wild flowers, a place that increased his possibilities, I’m sure.
Every new life is extremely vulnerable right now in the river environment and the adults of every species are doing phenomenal things, given the brutal thunder storms, hail and huge winds. Finally, these past two days, we have had a reprieve from awful weather.
I was just 14 years old and living with my air force family on CFB Hornell Heights perched on a hill above North Bay, Ontario when the space program was initiating such wild adventures into the unknown. That summer I would have just finished up my grade eight year with Mrs. Penner at Paul Davoud School and would be beginning grade nine at Widdifield in the city, the following autumn. Mom would have already sewn me summer pop tops and jam jam shorts. I was excited for time at the base swimming pool and my little sister would have been two years old. We had a black and white television set and I would have been snipping out important news stories from the North Bay Nugget and pasting them into my scrap book. (some of them are featured below)
In my record box, (bright green floral vinyl), I had my single-play records including Revolution and I Want to Hold Your Hand by the Beatles. It was the first summer that I would, under my brother’s chaperone, be allowed to attend Teen Town dances.
My entire family was excited about the Apollo Space Mission.
We watched the moon landing, together, on the television. I remember the images. I remember looking up at the moon that night, the silhouette of the huge lilac bush outside my window, and being afraid for those men, so far from home. It was truly unbelievable.
Well, this past weekend, we shared in the memory of that experience, now 50 years ago. On July 20, I read poetry and watched the second eaglet fledge. For me, the day was a celebration of flight.
On the evening of July 19, there was a tremendous storm brewing. I watched, with great amusement as Mr. and Mrs. both fed Jr. #1, the little guy that had fledged three days before. He’s doing well, having flown across the river, and having practiced moving about to a variety of places. Over those few days I was captivated by several close visits, as well as a variety of shenanigans across from me on the river. (most amusing being a middle-aged couple manning kayaks, one that capsized and the other that became grounded minutes before a huge deluge…the two, totally unaware of a family of three Bald Eagles feasting within meters of them). The male Bald Eagle stared at the adult male with a look that made me laugh. I’m posting some of my recent photos, here.
On July 20, 2019, I witnessed the fledge of Jr. #2. I considered this a huge gift on such a special anniversary.
July 16, 2019 (a visit to the river with summer guests, Angela and Preston)
July 17, 2019 (Mom and Dad spent lots of time the first two days prompting Jr. #1 to get up higher. The fledgling seems to ball, especially on Day 1 and the adults patiently convince him/her that they can be relied upon for food, for guidance and for presence.)
July 18, 2019
Meals on the run…sharing treats with Jr….I’m just so surprised that Mr. came directly to me.
July 19, 2020
Second Fledge and little buddy is the one located in the vertical tree. Junior #1 doesn’t like that the attention has moved away from him.
July 21, 2019
Three visits to the river. On the second, I didn’t have my camera, but I did have the company of Deb Sharpe. Together we watched the siblings reunited on the tree root across from us. Jr. #1 had remained there throughout the night. Mr. and Mrs. shared the big tree on my side of the river to watch the pair of youngsters. It was just so beautiful. The icing on the cake is that one of the adults soared with the Year-old Juvenile that made a visit as well, chasing him, first, out of the territory.
On my evening stroll, I listened to a bag piper sending out his beautiful songs to the river…
Other species have been evident and beautiful…and new songs have been sung. I’ve watched, but not documented American Goldfinch and have really enjoyed the Grey Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Kingbirds. I’ve also really had fun speaking with different people who enjoy my love for the river.
It is a remarkable thing that human beings have traveled into the far reaches of space through manned missions as well as through the use of technology that brings images and science back to us from Mars. It is for us to celebrate the abilities of humanity to accomplish wondrous achievements such as this. However, it is equally as important to recognize the charm and amazing intuitive lessons that are given by other species. It is essential that we connect with this wonder so that we become better stewards of the magic.
I’m wrapping up this post with a song that my mother used to sing to me…among others…but, this one is a good one for this celebration.
It was when Steven’s Great Grampa and Auntie Val made a trip out to Calgary to say good-bye to his Uncle John that our family gathered at Fish Creek on a very rainy day, to take family photographs. This is something that daughter, Erin, really wanted for her birthday. It was important to her. I think that most of us whined about it, but in the end, it was really very fun! Many laughs as we shivered and got wet, taking our turns hiding in the entrance to the visitor center, closed at this particular time. We did press our noses against the glass, however, and it was then that Steven spotted the buffalo!
There is only one thing that delights Steven almost as much as trucks and emergency vehicles and that is buffalo!!
So, this morning, Nanny, Steven and I headed to the same location in the hopes of finding the buffalo and we saw him…and so much more! A beautiful morning…a beautiful place, one of the most wonderful spaces in south Calgary.
In Tee Pee.
Poet Tree Benches
What? A goldfinch and NO CAMERA!! Lifer with Nanny and Steven
Looking for Trout in the river. “Hold on, Steven!”