Opening Doors

New, this morning, is a Global Collaboration based on an inspiration I received the other day from my blogging friend, John Clinock at the Art Rat Cafe.  I am inviting all of my readers to send along a photograph of one of the memorable/quirky/special/most amazing doors in their lives.  Include a location, a photo credit and a brief account of what that door means to you.

John tells me that there are DOOR BLOGS.  I’d love to hear from a blogger of doors, as this is just a spark and I’m really profoundly curious about the doors that people have opened, both metaphorically and physically.

To see what I’m talking about, please peruse the beginnings HERE and thank you for participating.  Share this with your friends!  Painter Lady

Paris: Blue Door Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Paris: Blue Door
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors

Father Lacombe Chapel: Mission Hill

This past weekend, I went in search of the resting place for the man who most inspired my faith development and taught with such sincerity and wisdom, that I became a Catholic in 1976.  On Saturday, it was a blessing to share this particular part of the journey with a friend who I have recently reconnected with, after thirty-five years…my dear friend, Hollee.  Another motivator for this trip was that I named my son after this wonderful and selfless Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest, Father James Carroll, and I feel gratitude for my boy every day.

Locating Father Carroll came with the help of a few wonderful people who I wish to acknowledge here.  Rene Georgopalis is the Archivist and Reference Coordinator for the Musee Heritage in St. Albert, Alberta. Among other bits of information, Rene told me about the Oblates at Rest book.

Most helpful to me has been the tremendous care and attention given by Diane Lamoureux, referring to herself as Oblate Archivist for Grandin Province.  I hope that by the fire lit in me regarding this history, others will be seeking the same.  It is a wonderful thing to understand our roots…family and faith.

Diane responded immediately to the desire in me to know MORE as I sought out any information about Father Carroll’s history and to build a context for my own faith development.  I have recently been very interested in looking back into the roots of my thinking and Diane had an authentic approach to supporting me in this.  The resources and information that she has shared with me are invaluable.

And finally, I wish to mention gratitude for the interpreter, Leila who gave us an exceptional tour of the historic buildings and spaces; the Father Lacombe Chapel, the crypt where Father Albert Lacombe, Bishop Vital Justin Grandin and Father Leduc were laid to rest, the grotto and finally, the cemetery where Brother Anthony Kowalczyk was laid to rest, followed by many of his brothers, including my friend and teacher, Father James Carroll.

Sculpture in Memory of Father Albert Lacombe at Mission HIll

An image of Father Hyppolyte Leduc OMI (1868-1895) from the Provincial Archives

Photo Credit: Alberta Provincial Archives Father Hippolyte Leduc, OMI (1868-1895)

The day was a blustery one, but it will remain one of my fondest days of summer.  First of all, to share time with a friend, can only be a magical thing.  We had shared a dreamy meal out the night before and did a generous amount of catching up as well as sharing our perspectives on pretty much everything.  So, we regrouped in the morning and headed for St. Albert.  The wind was strong and the clouds were drifting fast across the sky.  A wedding was convening in St. Albert Church as we pulled into the parking lot.  And, as we left, the bride and groom were on the front steps in great celebration.

St. Albert Church, Mission Hill, St. Albert, Alberta

We met our personal interpreter, Leelah, for the walk-about in the Father Lacombe Chapel and learned about its restoration, explored sacred artifacts and had the chance to ask several questions.

I highly recommend that if you are interested in early Alberta history, particular to Metis/French settlement along the Sturgeon River, then this is your go-to location.  The guided tours will finish up at the end of August, but once available again, this is an awesome place to visit!

Leila was the one who first spotted Father Carroll’s resting place.  For quite a long time the three of us, in circle, stood and visited about our lives, our choices and our faith.  It was a wonderfully rich event, one I will not soon forget.  I admire Leelah’s courage very much and I am so blessed by this meeting.  There is much more I could say…but a good part of this event, I want to keep in my heart.  I lifted up prayers…it was/is just that sort of place where a person feels very close to angels and to God.

Example of the construction. The Lacombe Chapel was moved a few times in its history and this system made that possible.

Altar: Sacred objects came from other parts of Canada, but represent vessels and written words of that time.

Father Lacombe Chapel Interior

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Religious Sisters: The Grey Nuns

Sharing Life and Positivity

Blip #2: My Sister

Last summer, I drove east on the #1.  One night, after an epic day’s drive, I pulled into North Bay, Ontario before the sun went down.  OH, I was tired!  I had paid for my room and was unpacking the van when I hear, “KATH!” as a dark van drove by, soon to back up.  There was my sister looking for a hotel for the night…same place…same time.  I will never forget that meeting, for as long as I live.  I love you, Sistah!  Thanks for thinking of me at the South River Coffee Shop!

Blip #1: My Brother

I can’t bring myself to empty special voice mail messages.  Ridiculous! I’ve saved this message since May.  It WAS a happy birthday.  I will be clearing my machine today.

Accolades and Blogging

I think I have two ‘readers’ of my blog…I mean, outside of my parents…my children.  I still wonder why I entered into this process to begin with.  I think I have a preoccupation with archiving anything and everything, and in some ways blogging put some boundaries on that and my piles and piles of albums and journals are shorter now.  But what will come of it all?  One really never knows.

Ironically, one of the two readers I mention, had previously nominated me for one of these blog awards and while I was touched and appreciated it so much, I felt overwhelmed with the criteria that I was to meet and still have the acceptance of the award in my ‘Draft’ file.  Today I’m going to attempt to write the acceptance speech of the century and demonstrate my sincere appreciation because this nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award comes from my second reader, John Clinock of the Art Rat Cafe.

He has my admiration for a few reasons. First, he writes thoughtful comments about my posts.  While it was never my intention to write for others here, sometimes it is so fulfilling to have a response to something I’ve thought about or something I’ve done.  There isn’t much in the way of validation for the individual sometimes (this is a strange comment to be making during the Olympics in London, but it seems there are so often opportunities for recognition in athleticism…I digress) and so, I wish to once again, express my gratitude for taking the time to ‘respond’.   Art is like breath for this blogger; it is both emotive and profound.  John’s paintings inspire. His writing syntax is poetic, sensitive; his content at times, light and humourous and at other times, heart-felt and heart-breaking.  I appreciate your nomination, John.  So, Thank you.

The Award guidelines are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
2. List 7 random things about yourself
3. Nominate fifteen other blogs
4. Notify the fifteen nominees
5. Put the award logo on your blog.

Seven Random things about me:

–       I have treasured my upbringing as the daughter of a military man and a determined and resourceful woman.

–       I was blessed with three children…and they have contributed the most to my own story…they are the shape of my life.  I love them.

–       I have had profoundly inspiring teachers.

–       I have completed the drive of the Trans Canada highway seven times in my life and last summer, for the first time, solo.

–       My first job was selling corn on the cob on a stick at the Great Falls, Montana State Fair.  I still remember the air, the buzz, the hot butter smell.

–       Laurie-dog and Max, my two border collies, have activated me as a person…they have contributed to my good health and to my forever-happiness.

–       If my children are the shape of my life, my faith is what gives that life dimension.  Outside of my faith, I would be lacking the contents of every open box…I would be a circle and not a sphere, a square and not a cube, a triangle and not a cone…strange, I know…but it is true.

This next required element will be the most difficult for me…it seems extensive…but, I am determined.  Next, I must nominate FIFTEEN bloggers for this same award and notify each.  Here goes.  I’m just thinking that these nominees may, like me, avoid the acceptance and required criteria for acceptance, but I’m nominating them regardless, just because the content of their blogs somehow reaches in to me.  I have limited time for writing posts and less time for reading posts by others…but these are the blogs that I explore on a regular basis.

1. Swords of Truth….Father Lavigne, the Assistant Pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish.  If you have opportunity to listen to any of his homilies on this blog, you will learn something, feel something and know something in your heart of hearts.  Thank you, Father Lavigne.

2. Kelcey Parker provides interviews with writers like this one and every time I read one of them, I am convinced that I can be a writer.  I think that this is a successful blog, when that sort of motivation can be inspired.  Thank you, Kelcey.

3. Allen Porter Mendenhall is someone who writes intelligently and gives me much to think about.  His genre, to over-simplify, would be a mushing together of literary review, examination of historical writing, philosophy and thought, and the power of opinion.  I wade through his words. Thank you, Allen Mendenhall.

4. I don’t receive a hard copy of the Calgary Herald at the door and I really enjoy Friday’s  Swerve Magazine.   I find the content informative and also often entertaining.  I think it shares with its readers a good cross section of what is going on in the city and what people are thinking about. I don’t know that this is considered a blog, but the posts read as such most times.  If you are local, you may want to subscribe…if you live in Vancouver, you may want to find a few reasons why Calgary rocks.  Thank you, Swerve Magazine.

5. (and a third of the way there) Ephemeral Gecko creates the most juicy collages in her sketchbook, daily!  I’ve followed her pages for quite some time just because they are beautiful.  She is great with archiving and has shared tips about dyes and dye processes on paper.  An excellent resource for anyone interested in incorporating text, layers, a variety of media.  Thank you, Ephemeral Gecko!

6. Beautiful Hello is simply-put, a beautiful, crisp and diverse blog.  Like my own blog, it wants to have a focus, but doesn’t.  Sometimes I wonder if this is a good or bad thing.  Evidenced by this blog, beauty is found in family, creation, effort, design and functionality.  There is a wide variety of material here.  I simply read it because it is BEAUTIFUL! HELLO!  Thank you, Emily Jeffords.

7.  Year-Struck is one of the excellent writers hanging about with WordPress.  I wonder sometimes why people like her are not featured on Freshly Pressed.  I’m actually beginning to notice that this is a category for fairly ‘new’ blogs…but I would like to see Year- Struck appear on their list one day just so that more people can read her work.  She uses humour and sentiment and reaches in to the core of ordinary people and experiences.   I have noticed that she is not accepting anymore awards like this one, but suffice it to say that I am likely only writing about my nominations, not necessarily informing them.  I think mayhaps that this is simply a way to link bloggers to bloggers and she and I will always be linked writer to writer.  Thank you for your support of my blog and for your exceptional writing, yearstricken.

8. I’ve dreamed to have enough knowledge that I could eek out an existence, even in the face of world calamity.  I bought all the Foxfire books while in university and sewed up moccasins from hide that I purchased in a corner store.  This makes me smile as I recollect my desire to live off the land at the time.  Now, I appreciate my bed and the convenience of the grocery store. A woman who is clearly able to plant, grow, harvest and create a wonderful life for her family is Throwback at Trapper Creek.  I enjoy my time reading about her various challenges living off the land.  Thank you, Matron of Husbandry.

9. An Afternoon With is one of the most aesthetically pleasing blogs that I spend time viewing routinely…’viewing’ being the operative word.  Photographer,  Michael Mundy enters into spaces and captures them at their essence.  Brilliant and thought-provoking work!  This is a blog I will likely always remain connected with because each time I connect, I feel as though I have been invited to step inside a space that is not my own and explore it…these spaces ARE portraits.  To see what I’m talking about, spend an afternoon with Belinda and let me know what you think. Thank you, Michael.

At this point, I’m saving this draft…I hope that it resurfaces at some point and that I complete my list of fifteen nominees.

Portraits of Self

There is no long trail of documentation that precedes me…no hard drive containing a vast record of digital photographs…who I was…who I am…appearance-wise.  I fear though, that I have left a huge trail of ephemera.  My children likely wish that my footprint was less in this regard.  I have a stack of concert t-shirts, for example…each one worn one time only…I hope everyone will select their favourite and take it, when I’m gone.  The same goes for my ‘vinyl’…each record played once in order to make a cassette tape and then filed in a box.  Why do I hold on to such as this?  Does anyone really know Three Dog Night anymore?

My mother found two photographs in a box taken with a borrowed camera and she swears that they are photographs of me.  Why do I have my doubts?  Here is one of these official baby photos…the only one of two.

I  treasured the paint-by-number of The Last Supper that my father did while stationed up north, so much so that I purchased its contemporary on E-Bay for $9.98…apparently done by someone’s grandmother circa 1953.  I’m glad I have an archive of the original.  (see below)

I’ve always been a pet-lover.  This has been documented also.

Next…proof that I studied ballet, until the teacher explained to my mother that perhaps this wasn’t the style for me.  In retrospect, I could have told her that and saved us both the trouble.

Family…most times one parent was missing from the photograph, depending on who was holding the camera.

School photographs are the best, aren’t they?

Two other portraits were brought to mind by a photographer of my youth, Lorraine.  The first one portrays my ‘earth mother’ days very well.  I made lots of whole wheat and rye bread back then, some loaves more successful than others.  These, always partnered by the community pot of soup.  Mm-mmm!  Lorraine captured my young-woman-walk-through-the-coulees-self exquisitely, me thinks!

The second sitting was with Lorraine when I was about seven months pregnant for my first baby.  I like the ethereal sensibility created with the lighting and the curtain in the window.  I don’t mind publishing the photo here.  Photos in our contemporary world have become far more provocative and revealing.  I think this one is subtle and captures, I think, my sense of anticipation, if not acceptance.  Thank you, Lorraine, for reminding me of these!

Based on this visual legacy, I decided to have my portrait done professionally and it was both entertaining, creative and fun!  Thank you, Jen of Jen Hall Photography!  A great experience and a record of my presence to my life.  Thanks also to Cathy Larsen who built a quilt out of 2006, a year where I documented magic every day for 365 days on fabric.  You are a master at your craft, Cathy, and I continue to this day, to treasure our friendship and your artistry!

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe. Truman Capote

Look at What the Light Did Now

Jen Hall came over to archive some work in the studio.  I’ve been really aching to get a couple of pieces out into the world, one inspired by a  poem by George Bowering (thank you, George)…
(a recent letter from George)
Hey, Kathleen,

I like your wolf in the snow
and I am glad that my words could have a part in it.
Hope to see them in the flesh, or charcoal, or whatever.
Well. Hope to say hello in person some time.
I am the way and the heavy.
George’s poetry is so powerful, that to have words of his sent to me via electronic mail also feels like poetry.

Thank you, George Bowering

and another by Paulette Dube (thank you);
Paulette shaped a heart-felt message for me as well, but it stays here, tucked in my heart.

Paulette’s Words Take Flight

…but, I didn’t want to send the paintings out of the studio until I had them photographed.  I’ve converted my old photo slides to digital recently and I realize that I used to tear out the door, often with wet paintings, in order to meet deadlines.  If I photographed my works, they were haphazard trapezoidal shapes of every variety; they were unfocused and they hardly qualified as an archive at all.  Here would be an example.

Poor Quality 🙁

So now, I have no REAL history of what has come before, to even consider how all of that work influenced this.  See.  This is why I am excited that Jen came to the studio this morning.

Jen’s ‘Take’ on an one of my ‘old’ paintings.


Photo of taking Photos by Jen Hall

Little Wings and Feist
Hear it like a pounce upon a peak, oh
Look at what the light did now
Bear it like a bounce upon the beak, oh
Look at what the light did now
Land and water and bird or beast, oh
Look at what the light did now
Shiny little band or golden fleece, oh
Look at what the light did now
In my will I went ’til it’s wasted
Look at what the light did now
Taste the taste I taste ’til it’s tasted
Look at what the light did now
Bought it like a boast that burly beaming
Look at what the light did now
Got it like a ghost that girly gleaming
Look at what the light did now
Like a dead tree that’s dry and leaving
Look at what the light did now
Play it on me with grief and grieving
Look at what the light did now
I would finally fall to pieces
Look at what the light did now
We’ll meet soon as nephews… nieces
Look at what the light did now

Slices of the Cold War

It’s a strange thing for a lady, living in the west…a teacher…an artist…a bit of a writer…to be so moved by these slices of life as represented in a 7 minute slide show, photos provided by  These photos represent a very specific and impressionable time of my life.  I lived with my family during the Cold War hay day in North Bay, Ontario.

Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

April 2, 2012 3:30 p.m. Weather 12 degrees, sunshine and some cloud.  It was a beautiful day at the park!  Max and I took our time, clearing out plastics and packaging from the south edge of the pond and up on the north slope, edging on the road.  I enjoyed the sense of life and energy, every direction I looked.

Do people really have to trash their water bottles?

I received correspondence today from both SFCRA and Chandos and I’m glad about the response on both fronts.  From Chandos Health and Safety Manager…

I am just emailing you to let you know that I have coordinated a team of our staff to help tomorrow clean-up the area around South Fish Creek Arena. We will be starting around 7am tomorrow morning and should get it all completed best we can by end of day. When I say best we can I mean that some debris that may be in the dirt may be left until our landscape phase that will happen in 2-3weeks time. Otherwise I hope we can give you back the clean park you had.

And from the Assistant General Manager of the South Fish Creek Recreation Association,

I can assure you that we do take this issue seriously.  As mentioned last night, SFCRA has budgeted for & scheduled a staff member whose specific duty is to clean the outside property and parking lot.  We appreciate the work you have been doing; and look forward to a cleaner spring & summer season at our newly expanded facility!