Samsung Post

With a west-east migration in the works, I’m  giving this little compact device the opportunity to prove herself while I’m  still at home. I just went through and documented all of the Al Purdy poems that will be subjects for paintings in September. (Dang! I already wish I had a larger keyboard!) Anyway, there are still projects to organize, so this won’t be long. A test is all. Hmm mm now,seeing if I can attach a photograph? Something unrelated, I’m  guessing.

Alright. So it appears that I can’t up load  images taken on the device and stored in the album. I’m going to have to do something about that!

I really really like WordPress! In minutes, I was on live chat with a support person (I think they call them happiness engineers) and Jason explained how to download the WordPress  app from the Playstore. And so, I’m going to try to post a second photo, this one, from my tablet.  I’ve now got this sorted out and that’s one more accomplishment before getting on the road!

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White to Colour

Today is a tremendously magical day.  Fresh snow covers everything and I ended up spending more time than usual at Frank’s Flats…playing with the Max Man and delighting in the dazzle of everything.

?????????? Cell January 31, 2015 Frank's Flats Fresh Snow Max 004DSC_2158DSC_2172Plans for the day have changed because of the beauty of the white…and the wonderful feeling of fresh cold air.  I like how that happens.

??????????The last I posted of this bedroom furniture DIY project was titled, WHITE.  I had everything primed and ready to go.  At that point, I had thought to paint based on Marc Chagall’s work, but have opted to do a free flowing bit from my own heart.  I wanted to pick up on the colours found in a feature painting hanging already in my bedroom…something I did a long time ago.  Here is where colour comes in.

P1170878First of all, Sisters Marjorie and Ita enjoyed a Sunday dinner with my son and me.  They were so gracious and brought me a beautiful spring bulb arrangement.  It has sat on my feast table this week and I have watched one plant after another, burst forth in colour.

DSC_2079DSC_2086While I have been very slow to progress with my studio furniture…I wanted to give a bit of a sense of where it is going at this time.  As well as what you see here, there will be other layers…text as well as sparrow paintings incorporated in collage techniques.  In the meantime, I continue to sleep on my brand new double box spring and mattress, on my bedroom floor.  I hope to update you again in the spring with the completed furniture.  Painting can be like experiencing the seasons…moving from the blank canvas to an energized piece of colour.

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Palette inspiration.

Three Readers & the Art of Blogging

I haven’t written much for a while.

Some people need to stop worrying about me when I DO write a lot because I derive a lot of joy from putting my ideas out there.  Let it be known that I have this thing that I do, under control.  I don’t spend a lot of time baking great cakes.  I also stepped into a mall for the first time in five years (no lie) over the holidays because I was to meet my son-in-law in the Shopper’s at South Center.  I don’t shop.

So, instead of listing the other 200 things that other people do while I am writing, I’ll just say that I am pretty dang happy at this time of my life.  There were two dark moments in 2013…the moment my beautiful mother had to let go of her life in May and that instant when my friend of over 25 years, Elma Flaherty, died.  I continue to deal with these losses on a daily basis, but, truly…my life is one of blessing.

I wanted to enter into the dance of the New Year with an acknowledgement of three of my readers.  I’m not very well connected to the ‘blogging community’ because that WOULD end up eating up a lot of time…but, these same readers are three amazing writers and I need to say just how wonderful it has been, sharing their writing journey, so I’m going to do that now.

John Clinock lives on the west coast, in Vancouver, hosts a blog titled Art Rat Cafe.  He is a talented writer and also has a fondness for art that incorporates text, as well as a love for good music.  I’ve been reading and admiring his work for a good long time and I think I originally connected with one of his posts when I went searching for blogs that focused on the artist’s journey.  Generally, his life on this techno-high wire is an optimistic one.  Some would wonder if optimists are presenting a facade in all forms of social media, but John writes about ideas, music, the seasons, human celebration and pain, with a particular beauty and authenticity.  I want to thank you for your writing, John, because it consistently inspires.  I’m posting one of your images here, likely mixed media, and will ask your permission AFTERWARDS!

Tarot: John Clinock

Tarot: John Clinock

Dear Shimon lives in Jerusalem., Israel.  He writes beautiful narratives that convey the simplicity and beauty of life, but from a far off land.  I gather from his beautiful photography and his writing that he treasures observing his world and taking the time for those things that really count.  Deeply connected to his cat, Charlie, his family and traditions, I have learned very much about his customs through his posts and through my inquiries.  I consider him a dear friend although we have only shared the common elements and differences in our stories along the way.  A huge reader and appreciator of music, I hope to take on his reading list along the path of my life.  I strongly encourage my readers to visit The Human Picture and to have your eyes opened to Jerusalem in a very new way.  Something very interesting this past year was that Shimon experienced such a huge snow storm that temporarily transformed his home land in a dramatic way.

And finally, on her blog titled, Year-Struck,  I have been enjoying reading everything by a woman I know only as Year Stricken.  Her humour and her intelligence are the two reasons I return again and again to her writing.  Well-crafted, her words bring me to tears through the power of a moment or cause me to laugh hysterically in the next.  I have appreciated her vignettes that cause me to think about teaching, mothering, loss, serendipity.  Through her writing, I enter into a new way of seeing this thing that is common to all of us…life.

I don’t know the art of blogging.  I know that I enjoy the immediacy of this world at my finger tips.  My children will surely not suffer for lack of ‘getting into my head’ ever!  There are a couple of other blogs that I really treasure for their personal connections with me and my life.  I love reimer writes!  I have learned so much from Nikki.  Through her honesty about loss and grief and how to write your way through it.  I’ve learned about matters of the heart. Through her blog, I connect with someone who shares in my outrage at the treatment of  countless animals.  We share in our desire to respect and honour life.  Thanks, Nikki.

Finally, one of my dear friends has been making an exceptional effort in her vision to bring the arts to the marginalized in our city and to constantly open up the narratives that we share through her Love Art in Calgary tours.  Wendy, you are so important to me.  I wish you the best for this coming year.

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Bounty

You may be glad to know that I have sought out support for my grieving and the big losses of this past year.  Thing is…in short, I’ve been given permission to write it out, paint it out, cry it out, sand it out…do it out…whatever it takes.  I guess it’s not for others to judge the form that grief takes in others, so don’t worry on the mornings when you see twenty blog entries…it’s my manic grief finding expression…and if I can find a way to breath, then my readers can as well.  I guess I’m asking you not to suggest when to empty my closets. Thing is, you folk need to know that I’m not sharing my dark nights with you here…in fact, the only clue you really should have that something is going on, is the extent of my writing.  I’m keeping a private journal for the dark moments. I’m painting a mandala for my mother in the deadly quiet moments.  I’m painting again. (Thanks, Mom.)

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

T.S. Eliot

Action is key in my life…taking action of any sort that is not harmful to others is typically alright with me.  I’m not one to have in my language, words like boredom, fear or helplessness.  I’m all about ‘doing something’ about everything.  It will be helpful though, if I have the support of my family and friends as you observe this very phenomena…it is likely not that unfamiliar to you, in regards to ‘moi’…please don’t judge me because if I feel I need to do something differently ‘for your comfort’, then I will struggle needlessly.  I’m tending, lately, to be alone…at home, but also in crowds.

I am the one who is NOT contributing to a conversation, and when I am, I am not doing it very well.

I am the one who is arguing with confrontational atheists, likely because they are rattling the cage of the very thing that is getting me through this, my faith.

I am the one who is booking into countless programs in the city…more so than ever before, if that is possible, as a way of not staying home where I hear every now and then, “Oh, it’s time to skype with Mom.”

I am the one who is blogging about ridiculous things and taking photographs of step-by-step recipes.

I am the one who is enforcing by-laws about back yard fire pits and front yard cats.

I am the one who becomes confused over more than two instructions/directions and I am the one who will stare blankly at you, rather than ask for clarity.

I am the one who loses track of the number of cups of coffee I have sipped while watching birds at my bird feeder, wrapped in Mom’s flannel nightie…and in her flannel house coat…ten sizes too large, but, as close as I can physically get to her.

I am the one who could not host a Thanksgiving feast at my feast table this year because Elma would not be there…for the first time in a zillion years…because this year, as my own mother was battling pneumonia, dearest Elma was quietly slipping into the arms of heaven also.

The news of the world continues to roll…a giant super storm on the other side of the world, gives me pause and I bow my head for strength for India.  So many mothers.  So much loss.  But still…in all of this…there is BOUNTY.  Here, I am warm…I am sheltered…I am well-fed…I am blessed with my three beautiful children.  There is bounty everywhere I look.  This year in Alberta, a bumper crop for the farmers.  The fields look glorious this harvest.  The trees are golden and the sky, blue.  I am safe and blessed.

I received a phone call from Bobby…spoke with Bee…messaged Adrienne…left a voice mail for Mary-Lou…spoke to Yvonne on telephone…made a cell phone call to daughter, Cayley, on the coast…chatted with Glo and Bill Webb…skyped with Dad and Val, JP and Eliane and Louis…texted Margy.  Wendy asked, “How was today?” and…invited me to Beanos.  The circle of friendship continues to close around me. It seems that a feast table is a metaphor for something much larger.

With gratitude, I went to my daughter and son-in-law’s for dinner…we prepared a whole wad of recipes we have never enjoyed as a tradition at the feast table.  I have collected some images here.  It was a wonder-time with Erin, Doug and thankfully, James.  I feel blessed.

Rolled Cranberry Turkey Breast with Creamy Gravy Recipe: Canadian Living

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P1130408 Kale and Pancetta With Crispy Shallots: Canadian Living Recipe

P1130359P1130404P1130361Roasted Chili Lemongrass Squash: Canadian Living…

Highly recommend this one!

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P1130357P1130416Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette

For me, too sweet…less honey than called for!

P1130405Chopping water chestnuts for pre-function spinach dip.

P1130349 P1130364Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary

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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, http://swordsoftruth.com 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.  http://phdincreativewriting.wordpress.com/how-to-be-a-writer/  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.  http://allenmendenhallblog.com/ 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.  http://swervecalgary.com/  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.

Responding to Writing and Pain

I’ve wanted to comment on this post since it was written.  It was written a few days after this post and just slightly after this post.  Sometimes I read words through this medium that absolutely try to blow me away.  These words did.  Writing a short comment on your blog just didn’t seem ‘enough’.  I’m just glad that you are writing again.

1911 Red Studio by Henri Matisse

Considering; writing, pain, writing the pain and ‘how writing helps us see’,  I revisited something I was thinking about my own writing.  I once wondered if my writing sounds too optimistic, too positive and too ‘grateful’.  At times, I’ve wondered if my life is even believable.  More than once, I’ve written about  ‘audience‘  here and I’ve thought and wondered about the writer’s voice.  This is somehing that CAN be taught. Pain, loss, struggle and challenge are all floating about in my head all of the time and are beneath the surface of my writing, however optimistic. My words are arrows pointing me away from that pain and I am able to see blessings clearly.  To consider something you said…

“When I move, when I walk (because I can no longer run), when I chew the juiciest slice of steak or when I plunge head first into a crashing ocean wave, the pain tugs on the chain and snaps me back to the reality it has configured for me.  Pain grows jealous of any sensation that does not include it, and, like the guest at the party who must always be the center of attention, it screams and drowns out the more pleasant feelings as they politely try to redirect the conversation.”

Conversely, when the pain was so biting that I found myself sitting in front of the t.v. on the red couch more days than can ever be deemed reasonable,  when I tried to lose myself in the pain…not even really watching, but hearing the drone in the background of sitcom and reality t.v. and drama and Criminal Minds…immersing myself in the pain, shifting, sometimes crying…totally caving into its reminding, its nagging, its repeating…there in the midst of the darkness was this life force that shattered all of it.  Optimism, hope, gratitude and faith sucked me out of my warm seat…optimism caused me to pick up a book and read. Hope dragged me to the studio to paint.  Gratitude moved my pen.  Faith led me to pray for every need.  It all goes both ways, doesn’t it?  Better to have the ‘pain’ in the background screaming…than the other.  Sometimes we are fortunate enough to be able to choose one over the other.  I pray for those in our world who do not have the choice.

Teaching and Learning

A Grade 7's Introductory Response to Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

I would have to say that I am in some trouble.  I’ve been bitten by the blog bug!  I know that if you are reading, you can tell.  It seems from where you are sitting that mayhaps I spend hours doing this…no, it comes in brief fits of interest, intrigue and avoidance.  You see, I’ve really been here all weekend, working…creating things, learning how to use particular programs on the computer, familiarizing with Desire 2 Learn, making invitations, marking…you can’t tell that, can you?  But, at the same time, I begin to notice the massive list of things that interest me! (Cartography interests me…especially beautiful maps!) In an earlier day, we would say that the list of things that interest or intrigue me is as long as my arm…but likely, given our exponential shifting every moment, it is definitely longer!

It started with this morning’s coffee.  I came down to check my work e mail to see if there were any surprises waiting for me.  I happened upon a WordPress blog, as I was signing out.  I believe they call the location, Freshly Pressed Blogs.  Oh sheesh…and this was as I was logging out! 

I immediately responded to a beautiful blog that I saw there and ended up at the associated website of Jacob Murphy, photographer.  If you will go to this website and please look at the video that is contained there, I’m certain that you will appreciate it as much as I do!  I was especially touched by the video content because I was on my way to teach in our beautiful school.  I could not help but think about all of the advantages our students have and just how blessed we are as educators!  I felt so positive and full of gratitude as I headed out this morning.  Thank you for your photographs, Jacob Murphy.

Student Response to Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Backyard Garden Weary, But, I DUG IT!

Ok….well, I’ve been on a bit of a blitz here and just realize that the backyard garden is so abundant (and then there is the front!), I am just going to have leave my insights for now!  I actually have to go and dig around a little and when I’m finished that, I need to dig into the laundry, the marking and all else that needs to be dug!  It was fun today, to receive a ‘like’ on my wordpress, a ‘comment’ and a ‘subscription’….so I would want to acknowledge the person who made all three things happen.  Ta DUH! PROFUSEMOOSE, thank you!  Now, I just need to figure out how to link to your blog.  I found you for a moment and now, you’re gone!  But, everything you said, was WORTH SAYING!

Beginning Again

Here's Lookin' At You!

It was difficult to begin all over again!  I was sad when I was dragged over from Windows Live Spaces after years of blogging and was dropped into a foreign land, WordPress.  Nothing on this page looks familiar.  I’ve been avoiding writing as a result.  I have no one who reads my words anymore…so, I ask myself, “Why begin again?”  Dunno.  I hope that over time this place will feel like home.  I know that I have some ‘cleaning house’ to do here because things just ARE NOT the same! Welcome to my new home.  I hope we get to know one another!