Finding Nigel

Truthfully, Nigel found me!

We just hosted Christmas dinner and Nigel and Angela were with us.  I have to write this down because, given the experience of being swept up in gravy and my grandson, there wasn’t a single photograph archived of my dinner guests.  You know the one…the one where everyone is gathered into a collective and asked to say CHEESE!  There is always only one person left out of that photograph.  Well, this year…well…no need to get redundant.

12/6/17, 4:11 PM  I received this message.

Dear Kathleen, I will always remember you as “Mrs Hanrahan”. I don’t know if you remember me, but you taught me grade 7 art some years ago. I have been searching for you for some time, but it is only appropriate that I should find you now, as I am about to embark on a new adventure; teaching art. Would you be interested in a get together and perhaps imparting some of your wisdom to me?

NIGEL????  Remember you???

Of course, I remember you!

Following our reconnect were stories of remembrance of the Junior High variety…students working things out in my storage cupboard…stuff like that.  As I revisit those years, Robbie Fernuk isn’t far away.  He was a big part of the creative energy that lived in that particular art class.  So was Nigel.  Oh, how the years have sped by…

Photos from our first get together, when I got to meet Angela.  Oh my goodness!  It was as though we had never been apart.

Nigel and Angela first meetingNigel and Angela first meeting 2

I treasure our friendship.  Nigel is life-giving.  He is kind and smart and funny.  Angela has  become a new friend and I hope that we have the years to build memories and share experiences.  Both Angela and Nigel are animal whisperers, brilliant, well-read and artistic.  I love them!


(looking for Angela’s birthday photograph, but can’t find them in my archives…sheesh)

(I just ripped them off of Facebook)


Nigel and Kath Rumblehouse

Nigel and Kath painting at Rumblehouse

Cutting Myself Some Slack

I have to admit, I’m not at the top of my game lately.  A person can be confronted by and, possibly, absorb a lot of gut-wrenching stuff via the media, daily. (the state of Syria, regional economics, pipelines, the American debates and election, unemployment and the economy, involvement of Russia in global agitation, the status of North Korea regarding armaments, the state of our environment and the care for dwindling species…these are just a few concerning factors that spewed out the tips of my fingers at the keyboard…free flow)  If that ‘removed’ material isn’t enough, then there are also the daily stressors that one must face, sometimes alone, and these can really nail a person down, both in body and spirit.  The important thing is to do something about it by changing patterns and practices.

This past weekend was one of those weekends for me.  Not really ‘into’ any interactions with my wider circle, I focused on ‘being’ with smaller groups, staying closer to home and eating good food.  Quality time with my daughter and my ‘real life’ friends was very healing.  I am grateful for that sense that the rest of the world can motor on at warp speed while I take a little vacation from the nonsense that becomes my whirling life.  What we’re trying to prove, I don’t exactly know.  What I’ve been doing, I do.

The weekend began with a gathering of my hiking YaYas and our ritual gathering photo op with prop.  Thanks to Cathy for hosting.  What a relief it is to talk and talk and talk and laugh.  And wow…those hugs at the end of an evening!


Walking the circle of the pond at Frank’s Flats…always calms me and makes me live more deliberately or consciously.  Walking, itself, causes the lungs to fill up and with ‘real’ air.  The light filters in and replaces worry or dischord.


Contemplating my closest companion…our friendship…activity.  There are many funny moments created by my Max-Man.  This weekend, I was grateful for my fur-boys, both dogs, Laurie-Dog and Max-Man and cats, Piper, Edgar and Peanut.


On our Saturday afternoon walk, a flock of fourteen Trumpeter swans flew overhead. There is nothing like their sound pulling out of a blue sky.  I didn’t care about zooming or panning, obviously, but I can not look at this patch of blue, without remembering what that was like.  I always consider these events to be Holy events and I have been graced with the blessing of many such moments.img_2378

On Sunday morning, I went to early Mass.  For me, the peace that comes with this celebration can’t be replaced with anything else.  I was also very grateful to be embraced by the MacDonalds in the parking lot, afterwards. Such good people.

Off to the grocery store, I filled my basket with cheeses, beautiful squash, vegetables and fruit and some Kaslo sourdough pasta.  I had selected a lovely Cannelloni recipe to prepare for dinner.

Sunday offers the opportunity for people to recline and have a little snooze, or as my Dad calls them, a Sizz under the Fuzzy.  I had one of those and then…

I drove to Hull’s Wood…a part of my life, here, in Calgary’s fringe.  Jess has begun her teaching of this semester’s Pow Wow dancing.  I highly recommend this practice to all of my readers.  We began with the peacefulness of a smudge ceremony and the blessing of sweetgrass and sage.  Then…cardio…then practice.  This week, some basics in handling a single hoop.


I had missed a few openings on the weekend.  I especially wanted to see the exhibit, For You and Me hosted by the Paul Kuhn Gallery, curated by artist, Ashleigh Bartlett.  As well, I had wished to offer my support of Mark Vasquez-Mackay and Rich Theroux for their opening, Mindfulness at the Rumble House.

I decided, on the way home from Pow Wow dancing that I would stop off at the Queensland Community Center and spend some time with Mark’s mural on the building.  On a perfect autumn day, it was a wonderful option for viewing art and giving one of my peeps, some support.


At home, Cayley and I made Cannelloni together.  It was fun to share the kitchen and I’d like to do that more often.  The process of cooking can be a very relaxing thing.  When I went to my room in search of my bedroom slippers, I noticed that my daughter had also folded my clothes from the dryer.  Kindness from others is likely  the best medicine out there, for anything that might ail you as an individual…it is also the best medicine for the world.

I would like my readers to share what it is that they do to relax, to find their center…to be at peace.  We don’t have to control everything all of the time.  But, how do we let go of that need to control everything?

Epiphany Tunnel Books

Oh my gosh…not a lot of writing is going to happen here, but I have to archive an activity that I’ve actually never practiced before and had opportunity to try today.  I have to say that the most difficult aspect of teaching a grade four class how to construct a tunnel book was teaching them how to fold creases as valleys and mountains…or let’s face it, how to fold creases at all.  Do my readers remember, as children, folding fans?  That’s all that’s required, really, but folding a fan seemed, at times, insurmountable.

All other concepts…near and far…background, middle ground, foreground…no problem.  I don’t know.  I’ll have to think about just how to make the folding easier.

What I DID do…I created a template and copied it twice for each student, providing, once folded, for the two sides of the tunnel book (accordion-like).  I marked out a series of lines, dotted from one side to the opposite side.  At some point, I’ll photograph my template and share it here, but, not tonight. What’s a tunnel book, you ask?

Tunnel books can be as sophisticated OR as simple as you wish. The book collapses flat, exposing a single composition.  Once pulled, like an accordion, a three dimensional sensibility is revealed. The Epiphany tunnel books that the grade fours created after I shared the story, The Gift of the Magi, were very basic.  Take a look at these.  These illustrate the more complex tradition.

Wim de Vos is a bit of a character…but, I like that he demonstrates the kind of artistry possible where a tunnel book is concerned.

I found the following photo on Amanda Watson-Will’s site and because there is no other photographer credited, I will assume this is her archive.

Wim de Vos

This is more like it.  I only wished I had seen this one before I began my lesson.

So, after the  story of the Epiphany star and the fine art of gift offering…I got the students started on a background panel, deciding that it made sense to work from the back up to the front OR the background to the foreground.

These are a sampling of the tunnel books made by these awesome, open and enthusiastic students!  Love them so much.

Requirements for their compositions:  A guiding light, a figure, gifts, foreground, background and middle ground.

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Thank you, Colleen, for your class!  What beautiful children!

My Get Away to Visit the Bogners

I got up bright and early and pursued yet another DIY project…the front entrance and closet.  I’m leaving the intense palette at the front door. Ten years ago, I wanted to keep a triad sort of palette going, with the three primary colours, but recently I’ve been muting the colour throughout my living space to create a more peaceful sense. I’m continuing to work my way through various categories inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and translated by Cathy Hirano.  I’ve still got so far to go, but, at times I can see my space evolving.

This is what this part of the house looked like at 7:30 yesterday morning.  See some history of the objects here.

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 001I didn’t take a photograph of the inside of the front closet.  Suffice it to say, it was a disaster.  So…I got Max out to Frank’s Flats and then began in earnest.  Does Max look pleased?  Would anyone else publish photographs such as these on their blog…NAH…but, I’m putting them here as a way of explaining just why I’ve been isolating a tad during this summer.  With the broken foot tying me down to this space for all of July, I’ve spent August transforming my spaces, beginning with the top level.  Now, for this one!

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 067 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 068 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 069My place looked just like this, when I got myself cleaned up and excitedly, headed out to the Bogners!  Escape!  Vacation time!  Friendship!  Laughter! Jane and Randy are angels and the day could not have been more glorious for a drive toward the mountains and all that green!  Four dogs are presently sharing their space and so there was extra fun upon my arrival.  It was great to observe and talk about other folk’s DIY projects as Randy has also been up a ladder for a good part of the summer, painting the stucco and window frames of this beautiful home.

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 012 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 013 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 014 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 016 See all that green…uh huh…see those white window frames!  Yuppers!Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 017 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 020Moose Mountain, straight ahead…the view from the deck.

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Dog walking, Forestry Way…fun times with Charles, Ripley, Stella, and Juno…Max was waiting patiently, in the DIY chaos back at home.

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 031 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 032Looking toward home…gosh, I love this beautiful Juno!

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 053Do you see her?  Peek-a-boo!

I GOT A STUDIO TOUR!  What light!  What space!  A wood stove and everything!  A potter’s paradise.  The kiln space also wonderful!  And I received the beautiful 60th birthday gift of a Bogner tea pot, fired in this very kiln!  WHOOT!

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 042 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 041Arch within the kiln. Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 037East side studio windows…lovely mature jade plants next to a wood fire place.

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 048North facing studio windows…wowsah!

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 036The artist stands before the signage for the house entrance.

We finished our tour in perfect time to enjoy one of Jane’s beautiful meals…salmon marinated in olive oil, garlic, ginger, soya sauce; broccolini, garden fresh green beans, tomatoes and roasted potatoes followed by fruit crisp, with bits of lemon and orange zest served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  Nummers! Wining and dining with Alex, Jane and Randy…a beautiful afternoon/evening after a tour of the studio.  Before the grill…

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 035 During the service…warm, homemade bread with needle nose pliers. :0)

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 034Dogs overseeing the operation…

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 055The feast… Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 058Saying good-bye to exhausted Great Dane, Stella. (and hoping that she would have a good sleep through the night)

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 064I am grateful for friendships that last the years and believe that they must be preserved and tended with care.  Now that I have found my way out to visit the Bogner’s, I hope to do it again very soon.

Jane Bogner and Me August 22, 2015 This was a delicious holiday experience!  With gratitude, I headed home before sun faded to the west, silently and slowly passing a deer out on Forestry Way…amazed by the peacefulness of the scene.

Back at home, I applied the second coat and began putting my space to rights.  I feel rejuvenated and happy to have had a get away.  It’s been a long summer, but there has been magic along the way.

Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 075 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 073 Kath's Canon August 22 and 23 DIY Bogner's 072Walls ready for some art and a light fixture crying to be out of here.  When my table was finally clear of the clutter, I set out the gift of a tea pot and felt grateful.  Thank you, Randy.  Its aesthetic reflects that sense that I wish to create in my home.

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Meeting Steve

My daughter and son-in-law have spoken for a long time about this wonderful cat sitter they employ while taking trips out of town.  His name is Steve.

Well, something I’ve found to be really ‘good’ for my heart is knowing that Max-man is getting one really GOOD walk each day.So, I went to the Red Rover Pet Care website and decided to ask Steve if he had time in his day to meet with Max. Servicing clients in the south, Steve said, “Yes,” and this experience has been amazing for Max and for me.

I treasure my connection with Max.  Typically, we share wonderful times twice a day exploring nature and being outdoors in every type of weather.  It’s been a huge frustration to let go of that connection. Unable to be off leash due to his knee injury, Steve gives Max an athletic walk on leash each day and returns after an hour with a very happy border collie!  Knowing that your dog-friend is well cared for eases frustration and brings peace of mind.  I have learned that if a friend is injured, I can support them by caring for their dog-friends.

These photos were snapped after speaking the words, “Max, Steve is coming.”  Other dog-walkers for Max’s second walk these last many days…I appreciate you with all of my heart…Cayley, James, Erin and Doug.

Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 010 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 009 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 007 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 005 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 003 Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 001If you are looking for quality care for your pets and you are living way out in these southern ‘burbs…Kim and Steve are the people for you!

Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 012 cropped Kath's Canon July 18, 2015 Max Dog Walker Steve 011-croppedAn hour long walk…and ten minutes later.


Foot Rest

Foot Rest 1I felt myself falling in slow motion. Over I went and my foot remained in the hole, while my body flung over that way…to the right. I heard a sound as though a thick elastic band had just hit a wall. I looked up. The dog walker twenty feet from me walked past, hitching her brown and white collie to her lead. I was looking up from a funny angle. Max was sitting at my head, tied tight by umbilical lead. I wondered about moving. My hip was hurting. Slowly, I pulled my foot from the hole. The guy on the bike flew past me.

Blue Boy

Of the same series…

Leaning back onto the bed…reading the Introductory comments to House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Max whined incessantly at my head. I had no idea why, but I thought it might have something to do with his recently favourite toy, Blue Boy. So, in frustration, I said, “No, Max! I’m not getting up to get him…YOU GET BLUE BOY!” Like the trooper he is, he retrieved Blue Boy out of his water dish and proceeded to walk the gamut of the family room with his toy, pouring water, the entire loop of the room.

I rolled off of the bed and hobbled to the closet where I found paper towel and carried on wiping up all of the water and throwing Blue Boy out onto the back deck.  Moments of peace and silence can somehow become disrupted even when no one is around.

There are so many layers to be unpeeled in life.  The more simple and slow and uninvolved life might seem, the more one discovers in the close-up version of every microcosm.

History & Future of the Book DIG 350 (Fall 2014)

Max Moors Gets Mail!

….EXPEDITED, no less!  Thanks to the Fiset family, and especially my sister-friend, Val, for sending a care package.  It arrived safe and sound on our front door step and Max-Man (as I call him) or Maxfield (as my father calls him) is grateful. Recouping from an injury isn’t easy.  It’s especially difficult keeping an ‘enthusiastic’ breed cloistered in a house all day.  He is offered simple leash walks after a lifetime of exploration and boundless expression of the most agile, speedy and remarkable variety. He looks at me with those big brown eyes, and I imagine him saying, “And it’s come to this???”  Max is delighted with the mail.  And I’m grateful for the generosity of my family.  Thank you!

My readers might take note that my writing has been limited these several months while I’ve served a four month contract, teaching an awesome group of grade threes.  My guess is that as I venture into the summer months, there will be more painting and more writing than I even imagined because Max and I will be limited in regards to our outdoor discoveries.  Close to home, we’ll be venturing into the world of home repairs, studio time and quiet evenings on the back deck.

In the meantime…here is an archive of Max’s reactions.  And then, we’ll be putting on the leash and getting out for a late afternoon stroll.

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Max and His ACL Injury

The last you heard, Max did damage to his knee early Monday morning before I tore out the door for work.  Up until yesterday, he’s been taking a half an anti-inflammatory/pain killer with dinner each night.  Just before supper last evening, Max and I headed for the CARE Center Animal Hospital to meet his  orthopedic surgeon for a consultation,  and to this point, things are looking up.

Max Left Knee BlownDr. Neil Connery knows our wonderful vet, Dr. Marty Lovo of the Horizon Veterinary Group, based at the McKenzie Towne Vet location and because of this connection, I felt an immediate sense of trust.  I can’t say that I’m as happy with ‘The Group’ (sometimes it feels like the Wal-Mart of vets), but my dogs and cats have been well cared for by Dr. Marty and his associates, including wonderful Dr. Jennifer Hewitt.  However, when I realized that Max had had an injury, he couldn’t be seen by any of the folks in McKenzie Towne Animal Clinic, so we’re very grateful that Due South Vet Clinic and Dr. Christina Youé (Bodle) were able to fit Max into their schedule.  Christina took x-rays, did an examination and provided us with a prescription for Max’s obvious distress.  We were delivered bad news and the likely recommendation for surgery to repair Max’s ACL.  Look at the criss crossy thing below and you will see what this means and also it is the Drawer Sign or the placement of the knee bones that provide the indicators for treatment and rest.

Cruciate Ligament InjuryAs Max nervously panted and clung to my leg, we saw a large array of dogs coming and going.  I felt heart broken and held onto the hope that since giving max four days of complete quiet, that perhaps things had settled.

Dr. Connery was very thorough as he gazed upon the x-ray and manipulated all of Max’s joints.  Max closed his mouth and stared straight ahead as things were bent and twisted throughout his hips and knees.

In the end, a far less radical decision…

Yes, Max is showing wear on those bands, but as yet, it seems that he has not had a complete rupture.  This may be the beginning of Max’s road of gradual loss of the ACL, but for now, we have been recommended a rest recovery of six weeks.  Dr. Connery said that he’s pretty certain that this would be the recommended treatment of Dr. Lovo as well.  I asked if Max could go off of his pain medications and I was given an affirmative, with the suggestion that I keep some anti-inflammatory medication in my cupboard at all times for Max.  He is allowed leash walks only, and a restricted level of fitness.

I told Dr. Connery that Max’s Frisbee days are over and he suggested that given the active minds of this breed, I would have to get rid of all of those and replace them with other ‘head’ work if I wanted to have a happy dog.  So…I thought I’d let you dog fans of mine know a little about these injuries in dogs.  It’s just one of those things that happens and Max, now seven years of age, may be seeing more of these sorts of injuries in his adult life.


Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area…Getting a Taste

Last evening, before my pond walk with Max, I headed west and south to the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area.  We will be taking our grade threes on a field trip to the location and in order to be fully prepared, a session is required for all instructors.  I attended with friends and colleagues, Jenn and Emily.  Lots of laughs and beautiful sunshine were shared.  Having a brand new camera meant that my head was sometimes out of range once we were outdoors.  But certainly I learned a lot about the conservation area from Maureen, the presenting educator, while we were inside.  (I have to say that the three yellow finches at the feeder located right outside the classroom were a little bit of a distraction.) From their website, this.

“Sandy Cross is the son of A.E. Cross (one of the Calgary Stampede’s “Big Four”) and Helen Rothney Macleod.  Sandy started purchasing land south of Calgary in 1945 for what would become Rothney Farm and eventually the Cross Conservation Area. In 1987, Sandy and his wife Ann donated nearly 2,000 acres of their land to the Province of Alberta. At the time, it was the largest private land donation in Canadian history and was operated by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.”

The land is spectacular and the approach that is taken in regards the sustaining the ecosystems is, by my standard, fabulous.  What a beautiful start to Thursday evening!

Kath's Canon May 21 2015 040 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 039 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 038 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 036 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 035 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 033 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 032 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 030 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 029 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 026 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 022 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 021 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 018 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 015 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 013 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 005 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 004 Kath's Canon May 21 2015 003Cookies, juice, friendship and nature…it never gets better than that!

From the Conservation Area, I swung home and picked up Max.  The sun was beginning to set and the birds seemed to be very active at Frank’s Flats.  I played a little with my camera and while they certainly aren’t perfectly focused, I will never forget my encounter with the male Black-crowned Night Heron and his mate.  Beautiful call…huge wing span…and a circle on the blue sky before alighting onto the brush below.  I also had a visit with the osprey…trying to capture the front of the male, but shooting into sunshine.

Kath's Canon May 21 2015 048Kath's Canon May 21 2015 074

This far away.  Mrs. Kept low in the nest at the neighbouring platform....but, as I drove passed on 22X coming home, I saw her tending her eggs and sorting things out.

This far away. Mrs. kept low in the nest at the neighbouring platform….but, as I drove past on 22X, I saw her tending her eggs and sorting things out.

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Mrs. eye-balling me.

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Max-man, my forever-friend…smelling like a post-winter pond….but, very very happy.

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