Facebook Profile Updates

Three days now, I’ve been deactivated on the most popular social media website since sliced bread.  I document my father’s music in the hours I might have wasted on early mornings, while drinking my coffee.  I listen to Chris de Burgh music on Youtube as background, while reading Al Purdy poetry.  His words make me weep at times.  I would have posted that on Facebook.

I imagine filling in that small space…I don’t even remember what the prompt was?  Say something about yourself…or what you are doing…what came to be known as a status update.

I would probably post a link to this post.  As a way of weening myself from the process, I thought to update my status here…what would I say?

July 5, 2016  A dark cloud fell upon me when, from no where, a friend invited me to go chase dark clouds.  He parked his car across the street and magically appeared when I needed a friend.

July 6, 2016 My hair was dirty, so I didn’t join my girlfriends for a night of listening to live music.  I didn’t paint at Rumble House, again.  I read Al Purdy poetry and used a sock as a place-saver.

July 7, 2016 I feel sad that I’m seeing the changes in the pond, all on my own, and that no one else sees exactly what I see.  Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow are trying to raise another family in the neighbour’s vent.  I relent and put seed in the feeder that I had pulled out of service because of the growing population of voles.  But, now, with the children’s incessant cry for sustenance, I give in.

July 10, 2016 What does it mean that I have 13 hits on my blog from Macau SAR China, today?  Some times these connections, through writing, just surprise me.

Yesterday’s photographs…documentation of train graffiti, imagining that the artist would want to know where his art had traveled.

I like that the red-winged black bird made it into this shot…

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It’s been wonderful to see the great Cormorants coming through.  They are closer to the river…this, a lone female.

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Mama Savannah Sparrow watching out for her young sprout…IMG_9226

Youngster…sitting a short distance from Mom…about half her size.

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My partner in crime.IMG_9208

A herd of 20 geese, four adults and the rest, progeny, slip into the water as Max and I tippy toe through the goose poo.IMG_9204

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.

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.

DSC_4191 DSC_4192 Cell June 15, Max Gets Mail 005 Cell June 15, Max Gets Mail 006 DSC_4198 DSC_4200 DSC_4201 DSC_4202 DSC_4203 DSC_4205 DSC_4207 DSC_4208 DSC_4209

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.

 

A Matter of Time

The weather is changing…in fifteen minutes, I had collected up my bag of litter and Max and I were off to enjoy the shift in temperature and remarkable scenery.  A woman stood on the ridge looking, I suppose, wondering what I was up to.  Two pigeons strutted about the east side of the glassy pool of open water, two muskrats slid, slippery, into the dark water on the west rim.  I never cease to be in love with this small bit of the world.  A jet black crow dipped, unbalanced, with nesting material already spilling out of its beak.  Spring is just around the corner.

Always company, no matter the weather.

Always company, no matter the weather.

February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

A shift in the weather.

A shift in the weather.

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.

Max Falls In!

By now, my readers are getting to know Max pretty well.  Yesterday, it was such an awesome autumn day…so golden-blue, that I took Max back on the loop where I once did daily walks with my Laurie-dog at the river.  The image below is a photo that I took on one of our final river walks.

Laurie and Kath 2My children and I sprinkled Laurie’s ashes along the path of his favourite walks…places he had shared with me over his 14 years.  I painted, as a result of his passing, a series called my Heaven Series, paintings that were rejected by the commercial galleries that represented me at the time, for the fact that they had ‘too much sky’.  Sigh…

September 7 2008 Max and Heaven 033I try to get Max back to these places before the snow flies and my favourite time is in the autumn.  Yesterday the yellow leaves were dancing on the ground.  There was just enough breeze and in the past couple of days the leaves have been on the change.

?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSC_0571Initially, Max was charged with excitement simply because we had such a steep drop into the valley and then there were gaggles of juvenile pheasants feeding in the open clearing left behind after utility and infrastructure revisions.

Interest Peeked

Interest Peeked

Poor photograph...but, yes, these are what caught his eye.

Poor photograph…but, yes, these are what caught his eye.

Where, once, I would throw sticks for Max from the broad perch of river rocks on the shore, most of the banks have dropped vertically into the water.  Max found one of the few locations on the east side of the river where dry rock could be found and there was no way I was clamouring down there, although he barked enthusiastically to prompt me.

??????????It was obvious to me that some huge shifts have happened with the river since the big Calgary flood.  For Max, these changes were not so evident.

As we continued south along the river, I think Max supposed that there were going to be some excellent locations for his activity of choice.  At one point, he took a mad dash from the path and I heard him briefly charging through the thick autumn brush and then….nothing.  Silence.  And yes…this is where he went in.  A tentative and anxious herder, Max has always loved the water, but up to his hips.  He has never had a swim.  He has always barked at sticks when they have flowed out of his easy reach.  Hmmm…this was to be a different sort of experience for him!  This is where he went in.

??????????I climbed my way through thick brush and heard his feeble cries. His situation came clear.  The current was kicking him down river, all the while his wee head was popping up and his strong legs were reaching up onto the wet, worn shoulder of the river.  Eyes, wide open, he caught sight of me and at my prompting, remained at one spot.  I urged his hard work and with a few strong efforts, he pulled himself up and into my waiting arms.

Sheesh.  Be warned!  I was a bad mama!  While on the west side of the river, I could see other families, children and dogs playing on a broad shore, there isn’t nothing of that kind on the east side.

This was excitement that we didn’t need…but, let it be known, my border collie has finally had a good swim!

Sheep-ISH Dog

Some of my friends on social media may have thought I was joking when I compared this fox to my dog, Max.

I just returned from my hike around the pond with Max…something we do at least once a day and when the weather co-operates, twice.  Lately, the wintry pond environment has offered new insights.  For one, during the huge spell of deep snow and icy temperatures, I found a kill site.  A predatory bird, likely some type of hawk, was evidently taken down by a large carnivore (I was initially thinking, a larger male coyote).  The feathers and parts of the bird were carried over a long trail.

I’ve purchased some casting plaster and will want to take a cast of the tracks that I’ve found circling the entire pond, simply because their profile is much larger than the other coyotes that have inhabited the area….more than four inches.  I want to do some comparison identification.  These matters always intrigue me.

CaninetrackscomparedLD

Add to that, the presence of deer sign (very unusual for this part of Fish Creek because it is fenced off) and several skat sites that included lots of animal hair as well as the typical berries, and it is evident that the wintery weather is offering all of the animals challenges for food sources and water.

So, today Max was, as is typical, exploring all of this.  As well, he was showing his mousing behaviours, every so often, acting very much like the fox featured in the previous Youtube video…only difference is that he doesn’t do the exuberant leap into the air.  He does, however, bury his snout completely into the snow, even snow that has developed a bit of a crust in this morning’s lowering temperatures.

Today…YES!  He brought out a mouse!  And…NO!  It mattered not how many times I commanded “Drop IT!”

“LEAVE IT!”

“COME!”

Max, consumed the mouse…yes indeedy!  Right in front of me…sheepishly relocating to a different spot every time I made a move toward him!  I know that my readers can imagine this.  I was so exasperated watching the horrors of a mouse being eaten bit by bit by my domestic pet, that I am still agitated.  Does Max know that I am angry?  You tell me.

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Sheep-ISH Max January 22, 2014

Now, of course, my next concern….”Is this going to bite Max in the butt?  bite me in the butt?”  As I collected these photographs at our arrival home, he burped.  SHEESH!

Not All Music

Grief is tough.  In early July, the cement balconies and brick mortar required maintenance on the building.  If you haven’t read it, pick up The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  During this brief period of time, Juster’s chapters on Dischord and Dynne came to mind…more than once.

In the analysis of Chapters 12 and 13,

In the Valley of Sound, Juster ties Milo’s lesson on perspective from Dischord and Dynne to the larger theme of appreciating everyday life. Just as Milo fails to appreciate the beauty of noises, the doctor and his sidekick are unable to appreciate the nicer sounds. When he reaches the Valley of Sound, Milo learns what happens when too many people take Dr. Dischord’s perspective. Just like Milo and Dischord, the residents of this valley have an unbalanced appreciation of sounds—they seem to prefer one kind to the extreme. As Milo learns, the residents of the valley became so unable to appreciate beautiful sounds that the Soundkeeper takes them away along with all the noises as well. Notice the plot similarity here with the city of Reality, whose city disappeared because they failed to appreciate it. It seems that what people take for granted in the Lands Beyond disappears.

At the Soundkeeper’s fortress, Milo learns about sounds in much the same way he learned about words in Dictionopolis. Sounds become tangible just like words at the Royal Banquet or in the word market. When he is actually able to see sounds in their “true” forms and the elaborate catalogue system that the Soundkeeper uses to keep track of them all, Milo seems to gain a greater appreciation of both noises and nice sounds. When Milo catches the word “but” in his mouth, Juster returns to his motif of punning by playing off the popular expression “on the tip of his tongue.” Once the sounds have been restored, the Soundkeeper realizes that her inability to appreciate all sounds makes her just as bad as Dischord and Dynne. Beauty, as we learned in the last section, is a matter of perspective. The Sound keeper realizes the sense of this, referring to Rhyme and Reason, symbols of wisdom, and declares that she will try to use each sound at the right time.

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My Max Man

Max was resting in the sunshine…I feel so grateful for these warm summer-autumn days…for the wandering natural areas when everything is so sun-licked and magical.  This is my favourite time of year and this is my terrific and loyal companion.

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A black eyed dog he called at my door
The black eyed dog he called for more
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog
A black eyed dog.

I’m growing old and I wanna go home
I’m growiing old and I don’t wanna know
I’m growing old and I wanna go home.

A black eyed dog he called at my door
A black eyed dog he called for more.