Firsts

This morning, I enjoyed a first…first walk along the river shared with Max, my grandson and my daughter.  It was a beautiful experience for me, so have to quickly archive.

The day began with a coffee on the red couch. Max stared longingly outside…but I wasn’t up for a rush, given that I’m struggling with a really bad cold right now and feel quite the ache all over.

Maxman April 26, 2018

I took a look at the male House Sparrow who also seemed despairing, perched for two full days on my back fence, looking at the vent where he once made a home.

And yes!  That sign does read Be Aware of The Dog, as opposed to Beware of Dog…a gift from my dear friend, Pat.  It makes perfect sense if you one day meet Max.

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At the base of the vent, all of the wee items of bric-a-brac collected over the years have been emptied out.

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No sign of Northern Flicker this morning.

All this aside, once out of my pajamas and into my sloppy clothes, I did a little bit of texting with my buddy, Wendy and headed to the river.

Near the Magpie Tree and saying ‘hi’ to Max.

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Mother Bald Eagle across the river from us…we should have hatching this week.

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Stopping at the Chickadee Wood.

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Stopping quite a bit to watch the fast moving water…the river is different from lake water or the swimming pool water…it makes noise.  Steven was enthralled.

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And the male Bald Eagle gave us a real surprise!  He rarely perches on this side of the river and I noticed him just as we were stepping toward this tree.  I quickly grabbed a couple of photographs, but directed Erin to follow me, away from the location…so as not to crowd him.  Sadly, before I could set up to take a well-focused photograph, he lifted off right in front of us and flew across the river.

I told Erin that it was a real blessing for Steven that this gentleman was waiting for us…a very unusual and amazing experience.

When an eagle appears, you are on notice to be courageous and stretch your limits. Do not accept the status quo, but rather reach higher and become more than you believe you are capable of. Look at things from a new, higher perspective. Be patient with the present; know that the future holds possibilities that you may not yet be able to see. You are about to take flight.

History

The indigenous peoples saw the Eagle as a symbol for great strength, leadership and vision. As if to seemingly mirror this, the eagle has been used as a ‘banner’ by many of the great empires throughout history, from Babylon to Egypt, through to Rome and even the United States. In early Christianity the eagle was seen as a symbol of hope and strength, representing salvation. The eagle appears twice in the book of Revelation; both times in a context that suggests it is on the side of God. In Islam, the eagle represents warlike ferocity, nobility and dominion.

In ancient Aztec tradition, the chief god told people to settle at a place where they find an eagle perched on a cactus eating a snake. This place is now Mexico City. Zeus changed into the form of the sacred eagle to help himself control thunder and lightning. The eagle was a strong emblem in the Roman Empire. The Hittites drew upon a double-headed eagle so that they would never be surprised. The Pueblo Indians associated the eagle with the energies of the sun – physical and spiritual – as well as symbols of greater sight and perception.

It may not be coincidence that such different cultures across thousands of years have adopted the same symbol.

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It was a magical morning, being with these two!

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Home building and insect eating.

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After our walk and as we returned to the parking lot, I looked up from the edge of the river, and saw Mr. perched nearer the nest and directly across from me.  I stooped and found a river stone to give to my grandson…a moment of today’s first.   In the water, the stone was golden smooth.  I love this little boy with my whole heart and my heart sings that I had  this opportunity.

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Bunny Cake Tradition!

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Mom always made us a bunny cake…my sister and I continue on the tradition.  And now, the next generation continues…my daughter Erin’s version, with two variations of a bunny face, at the very bottom.  I missed Mom a lot this year…again…still.

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My daughter’s thoughts on faces…always a variation depending on the availability of licorice, chicklets and jelly beans.

Erin's Bunny 2016

Erin's Bunny 2016 2

Val’s Bunny 2016!

Val's Bunny Cake 2016

Whirlwind

This is a beautiful day!  I got up early and Max and I headed over to the pond.  I made a decision to attend a later Mass again because light will be fading soon and our pond walks will be later in the day…it is time to soak up the beautiful morning light while it’s still possible.  It is another golden-blue day as tree branches become more exposed and the leaves move into a warmer shade of yellow.

Mass was inspiring.  With my church family, I was able to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t visited with for quite a long time and I felt as though I was able to be really present to her and to the blessed peace of the Mass.  I thought a lot about discipleship…and took pause to consider what direction these thoughts might take me in my community.

Once home, I ate a nice lunch and then visited with Dad on Skype.  Now, I am sitting in my pyjamas, ready to have an afternoon nap.  The sunshine is creating beautiful patterns on the floor near by.  This relaxed feeling that pours over me is quite a contrast to the whirlwind of activity that has been filling up my life since Enriquito’s departure and connecting with Dylan last week.  A few images as an archive…

Dragon Pearl Dumplings and Hot and Sour Soup…a family favourite and great for an art night.

Dragon PearlEsker Foundation autumn opening.  The snacks, as per usual, were amazing!  And it was such a nice thing to visit with Jim and Sue Hill again.  I bumped into people I knew, but it was especially good to share the experience with my daughter, Cayley.  I have to say that this exhibit is a challenge for me.  I’m looking forward to programs that will supplement the visual exhibit over the coming months.  I’m guessing I will learn more about art as communication and installation.  The programs began on Saturday, with an artist talk, but one needs to pace ones self.  Charlotte Moth: living images and Celia Perrin Sidarous: Interiors, Other Chambers will be on exhibit until December 20.

From this gallery setting, we headed over to Pith Gallery, meeting John Will in the center of 9th Ave, where funny enough, he stopped to talk.  Comic Con’t by Ryan Statz, had me in stitches.  Honestly, the work made me laugh out loud.  A great find!  Autobiographical in nature, this work was technically astute and in very good humour.

Lifted from the Pith Comic Con’t public share, I hope that Ryan will not mind me sharing this…sort of gives you the back story.

Ryan Statz – Biography

A native of Montréal Québec, Statz completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2000, and received his Masters of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University in 2008. Currently based in Calgary Alberta, Statz’s work has been exhibited across Canada, The United States, and Europe.

Ryan Statz – Artist Statement

I am an idiot.

Anyone who knows me would likely admit that this is neither a stretch of the truth or the imagination – in fact, if I were a gambling man I’d say it’d be a pretty safe bet. Based on a personal, and experiential reality, my work owns up to this; however, because I also do not lead a life that is altogether interesting or exciting, the subject matter of the work references the mundane.

In the production of my work, I employ strategies from performance, executed with a deadpan fervour that includes elements of humour, wit, and humility – with just a hint of self-deprecation. Any self-flagellation, however, should not be taken as an admission of a lowered self-image; it is used primarily as a comedic device that addresses the notion of hegemonic masculinity.

Art History ubiquitously portrays the male artist as an iconic figure, a genius, and a hero. As I often approach things with a great deal of humility, I present the male artist (myself) as an individual who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, whose social status amongst his peers isn’t the highest, and whose success within the local, Canadian and international art context is virtually non-existent. So for my own purposes, and in the context of the male artist-as-bumbling-idiot, failure is always a viable option.

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Cell September 27, 2015 Ironwood, Esker, Pith, Frank's 026

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From Pith Gallery, Cayley and I walked down to the Ironwood Stage and Grill where Steve Coffey and Sheri-D were performing a collaborative piece titled, Tales From the Moonshine Room.  Over a glass of wine, a snack of calamari and conversation shared with a writer out of LA, Cayley and I really enjoyed this performance piece.  On a few occasions, the spoken poetry brought me to tears.

Sheri-D and Steve CoffeeNice to see you again, Paul Forestell!

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Saturday morning began with an early morning pond walk.  Even when life is hectic, having a beautiful border collie (Max-Man) in my circle, causes a connection with nature and required exercise.

Kath's Canon, September 27, 2015 Heron 002 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 061From there, I headed up north for an Open Door YYC activity.  I had registered to see the warehouse where the City of Calgary stores and cares for the Public Art Collection.  It was fabulous!  Barb and Quinn did an superb job sharing such a ‘magical’ place with us. Articulate and genuinely passionate, their collaborative presentation was excellent. A staff of two, they manage a beautiful space and collection.  I was really glad to have seen this. (No pictures inside…and if you’ve ever attended to such an event, you would understand the logic.)

Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 001 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 002 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 003Had I prior knowledge about the density of population that would attend a Pop Up Etsy event, I would not have committed to the 50 minute line up to get to the 97 vendors inside the Golden Acres venue on Saturday.  While I did pick up three Christmas gifts, I find that Market Collective provides a more ‘chill’ experience and as many artisans and creatives.  I missed food trucks and live music.  The crowds were oppressive.  Hmmm…let me see…I’m sure I took a photo of the line up that wove in and out of shelving.  Yes, here it is…

DSC_1357Yes, Dad, I DID do this!  The best part of the line up was that I met up with one of my fans…just love this girl!  Hannah is in one of her dance poses for this photo. :0)

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I decided to opt out of the bus tour of the Shepard Land Fill site and headed home to chill out before sharing the evening with my girls, attending Alberta Ballet’s Balletlujah.

It was nice to sip (or would that be, down?) a gin and tonic at intermission with my daughters, reviewing the experience together and getting some Auld Triangle time (a little name we gave ourselves during a show put on Tom Phillips one night at the Ironwood).

Jean Grand-Maitre

Jean Grand-Maitre

From Avenue Magazine: Photo captured of a moment in Jean Grand-Maitre's choreography for Balletlujah!

From Avenue Magazine: Photo captured of a moment in Jean Grand-Maitre’s choreography for Balletlujah!

Now…it might be that my readers will think that Saturday was over…but, no.  What did we do?  We stopped at the Blackfoot Diner OF COURSE.  We thought we would share a piece of pie.  But instead….this.

Breakfast after Alberta Ballet Kath and ErinI have much to be grateful for…I’m offered up so much in the way of opportunity…good food and drink…friendship and family.  It was quite a weekend!  Late this afternoon, I will drive out to spend time with my dear Ya Yas. But…for now…a snooze!

Drives to Appointments

This whole series of short posts is about how I hope to remember to help others.  When life is such a whirlwind, it’s easy to become spun up in your own life, so much that you don’t remember that there are very practical ways that you can help others.

Naomi and daughter, Erin, are forever-friends.  I remember watching them perform as colour guard together…such beautiful and energetic young women!  Now, both married, they continue to share their journeys as women in a very different world.  Recently, Naomi has enjoyed the birth of her second babe, Jasper. We are grateful for Jasper. Well, on the day that I did a call out for a ride to my doctor, Naomi and Jasper made the time.

kindness-quotes-hd-wallpaper-26Off we went in early morning, in the rain, to Forest Lawn.  Thank you for your offer of a ride, Naomi.  I loved our conversation…and all to ourselves, I feel like I got to know you more for the very first time.  I love you and I’m grateful for your kindness.

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Daughter

I love each of my three children so much.  My heart wells up when I think of each of them.  Each one, such an individual…so special, in my mind.  My remembrances and shared experiences with each, are so particular.  Each one holds in body, soul, mind and experience, such a special collection of attributes.  I am a proud mother.  No…the relationships I have shared with them are not perfect…but the humanity of this struggle called life and the blessing/curse of free will,  guarantees that imperfection is pretty much a given.

Erin…my first born…a young lady with a heart that swells with kindness for others.  Her young life fractured bits and pieces of her innocent and beautiful trust in love.  I didn’t do so well in protecting her from all of that.  Bit by bit, as a woman, she has been filling the wee holes with new love and experience…the love of a steadfast husband…and she has used some really durable glue to fix the fractures.

She treasures her brother and her sister and has been a formidable part of her grandparents lives…their moving from one phase of their years into the next and the next.  Erin values and treasures family.  She has always worked tirelessly and sometimes passionately to discover how to make peace…for everyone.  And sometimes I think that work has been too hard.

Erin is music…and I can not help but interject with this song, by Sinead O’Connor, The Singing Bird…because this is a song that comes to mind when I think of Erin.  I also think that O’Connor’s hands…her gestures here…remind me of my daughter.

“The Singing Bird”

I have seen the lark soar high at morn
Heard his song up in the blue
I have heard the blackbird pipe his note
The thrush and the linnet too
But there’s none of them can sing so sweet
My singing bird as you.
If I could lure my singing bird
From his (her) own cozy nest
If I could catch my singing bird
I would warm him (her) on my breast
For there’s none of them can sing so sweet
My singing bird as you.
My singing bird as you.
My singing bird as you.

Erin is about feasts…good food and good drink… parties and celebration.  If you have not attended one of her events, you must really get in her good books…you won’t forget her hospitality and alongside her husband, Douglas, you will feel the welcome of their home.

I love you, Erin.

Yesterday evening, Erin and I shared a meal at our favourite family restaurant, The Dragon Pearl, in Inglewood and then went on to wander the Esker Foundation. It was the last-day for Janet Werner’s Another Perfect Day, Dagmara Genga’s Scenic Route and really fun and engaging, Jillian McDonald’s Valley of the Deer.  Erin and I spent some time deciding which role our Cayley AKA ‘wood nymph’ would play in McDonald’s installation.  I’ve included the short piece of video What Does the Fox Say simply because it reminds me today of the exhibit.  The Esker Foundation never disappoints!  It was fantastic!

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Birth Days and Mother’s Days

I was born on Mother’s Day in 1955.  This May, I’ve thought often and hard about my mother who has struggled the past few years with Alzheimer’s disease.  I thought about Mom on my birthday.  And I thought about her again on Mother’s Day…and I’ve thought about her pretty much every day since I left her bedside last month.

Christmas St. SylvestreI want to thank those of you who brightened my days with your love, your wishes, your prayers and your cards.  It has been another year filled with blessings as numerous as challenges.  I am grateful for all of it.  I am grateful for you.

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Birthday Girl

When life is riddled with bad news and sad times, just look a little in a different direction and you will see the face of wonderment and loveliness.  Last evening I was able to share in a meal with my dear sister-cousin-friend…quiet conversation…laughter…stories.  I steered my boat against the current slightly and found her.

Cousin Margy and Handsome Grandson, Maverick

Cousin Margy and Handsome Grandson, Maverick

This morning, I am looking at the face of my daughter.  First born.  For almost nine months, I wrote letters to her in a journal.  I never wanted to forget the journey of her creation.  Today she is a woman.  She is creating a beautiful life of her own with her husband and yet for me, in this moment, it was just yesterday when I held her in the crook of my arm…grateful and full of peace.  Thank you, dear daughter, for showing me the face of life’s great pleasure.  You are one of my best friends.  You bless me with your thoughts, your feelings and your affection.  I am truly grateful for you!  Have a marvelous birthday.

Hours old.  Erin With Mama (apologies for scanned photo quality)

Hours old. Erin With Mama (apologies for scanned photo quality)

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Gorilla House LIVE ART: December 5, 2012

I knew there was going to be a twist to this evening of painting, for a few reasons.  Our MCs were going to be three of the ladies (three muses) who have consistently supported the Gorilla House over the last several months.  I also knew that my friend Rylan was going to visit the House for the first time.  The themes for the night had been pre-selected and so we were able to consider subject matter in advance.  The topics were 1. Epiphany 2. Xanadu and 3. Kubla Khan

In my mind, the painting that came to life in my head would not be something that I could sell or market, but it was something I wanted to try to paint.  Based on some of my reading, I wished to explore what makes for an Epiphany.  In the end, I’ve decided that epiphanies (magic) comes from observing, and I mean REALLY observing,  ‘the ordinary’.  To experience an epiphany is a gift.  It is a gift from the self to the self.  It is the Divine within us.  The poem I chose to exemplify this concept was written by American Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser.  And it is called Epiphany.

From the Poetry Foundation.

An Epiphany

By Ted Kooser

I have seen the Brown Recluse Spider
run with a net in her hand, or rather,
what resembled a net, what resembled
a hand. She ran down the gleaming white floor
of the bathtub, trailing a frail swirl
of hair, and in it the hull of a beetle
lay woven. The hair was my wife’s,
long and dark, a few loose strands, a curl
she might idly have turned on a finger,
she might idly have twisted, speaking to me,
and the legs of the beetle were broken.

“For the french philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas, epiphany or a manifestation of the divine is seen in another’s face.” 

I painted my face-to-face.  Thank you to Belinda who generously purchased this piece at auction. “I Am Talking to Myself Again.”  And I’m proud of daughter Cayley for making art in the battle and selling her piece at auction.  Desere’s daughter, Amélie, also painted for the first time in an art battle.  So…that was double-fun!

Desere Amelie

Here, a selection of my random photos from the evening including Gorilla House schematics and Bruce’s demonstration of image transfers.  More to follow as people post.

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From Wikipedia…

Kubla Khan is a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in 1816. According to Coleridge’s Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of the Mongol ruler and Emperor of China Kublai Khan.[1] Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200–300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. He left it unpublished and kept it for private readings for his friends until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was published.

These are the lines and the analysis that most struck me.

The subsequent passage refers to unnamed witnesses who may also hear this, and thereby share in the narrator’s vision of a replicated, ethereal, Xanadu. Harold Bloom suggests that the power of the poetic imagination, stronger than nature or art, fills the narrator and grants him the ability to share this vision with others through his poetry. The narrator would thereby be elevated to an awesome, almost mythical status, as one who has experienced an Edenic paradise available only to those who have similarly mastered these creative powers:[57]

And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise. (lines 48–54)

Erin’s Card

I learned that I was pregnant with Erin and Lorraine took my photograph. This was before the day of ultrasound photographs! Trust me…my small seahorse is floating in a primal tide!

Recently my daughter and her husband went to London on vacation.  This meant that she was away for Mother’s Day.

 

It was only yesterday that I discovered her card, tucked away in a drawer in the sideboard.  These are the wee surprises in life that make it so magical.  If our lives are marked by such surprises, then we are truly blessed.

There have been many struggles, as much as celebrations in our lives.  But still, there were the hours of reading Dr. Seuss books and rolling play dough together. 

There were costumes to find and create.  There were cookies to bake.  There was dancing in the living room.  When I found this card, I remembered.

Where are you, Cayley Hanrahan?

I traveled by LRT to the Central Public Library yesterday at lunch.  I felt rushed and scattered and it was windy-cold.  I fiddled in my purse to gather up the 2.75 for my fare…of course, just missed a train…waited for the next.  I don’t like riding sideways or backwards…it always gives me a discomforting sense of going the wrong way…but, the only seats free were sideways.  I had glanced quickly at an event flyer (I’m always looking at freebees around the city) when I noted On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City, featuring A Matter of Trust…all that really stayed with me was a 1:30 time slot and the fact that George Webber was one of the four panelists including Louise Gallagher, Max Cielsielski and Rosemary Griebel.  I’ve always wished to meet George Webber!

When I arrived, I found that I was a day early!  “CRIPES!”, as my mother would have said, in the day.  She doesn’t say such things anymore.  To make the best of the trip down to the core, I went down to the Edward Burtynsky exhibit instead…and as you can likely tell from the number of posts that have been pouring out of my finger tips, as a result, the change of event was certainly no loss!

Well, upon leaving the Public Library and heading into the cold unsheltered wind of downtown, I pulled into Insomnia (if you DO click on the Insomnia link that I am handing you here, please don’t judge them that they misspelled the word, ‘happening’, the young folk really DO treat you well there!) for a sandwich-to-go.  I told the boys, while ordering, “The day hasn’t been going all that well, so, heap that sandwich with good stuff, please…lettuce and whatever you can find in that fridge of yours.”  Mmmmm….even the bread was grainy and healthy-tasting.  I was so grateful, because I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, to that point.

I stopped to enjoy the three skaters who were doing figures on the Olympic Plaza skating rink, while munching.  Then, I moved on to the Famous Five where I enjoyed the fact that someone had tied a coral coloured winter scarf around one of the lady’s necks.  On I went to the Glenbow, consuming the last of the sandwich  and feeling very satisfied.  I recognized a young man who was standing near the entrance to the Glenbow.  Had I seen him on a social media site?  Did I know him in person?  He seemed so familiar to me.  In moments, I realized that it was Tyler Stalman, a photographer who had worked with my daughter on a couple of previous occasions.  Wasn’t she supposed to be filming something out and about with Tyler this weekend?  Looking to the left, I saw my daughter!  Cayley?  We gave one another hugs and then I formally met Tyler and the producer, Peter.  I hope that Tyler won’t mind if I take liberties in posting one of his photographs here.  Exceptional subject…exceptional photograph!  Serendipity at the meeting of a Mom and Daughter who love one another!

Cayley Hanrahan, as photographed by Tyler Stalman, Calgary, February 24, 2012, the day before the Calgary Public Art Panel Discussion