I was included into a circle of friendship some time in 2002 and I’ve relished every opportunity to share moments of laughter and conversation with this circle since. I’ve recently organized my photo albums and woven throughout the pages are amazing sights we’ve shared; early spring wildflower walking, hiking, hot tubs and teaching detox sessions of every sort. I feel so grateful as I think about our journey. This photo…an early scanned archive from 2003, hiking Elbow Lake and Rae Glacier.
Because I recently enjoyed another remarkable feast with these friends, I wanted to plunk a post here, in recognition of time well-spent and good food shared.
Darren, Wendy’s husband, is the primary chef at these feasts, although Rebecca and Wendy get their fingers into the process where and when they can. Here’s a sampling of the treats that have been served us…this dinner, in 2002.
Butternut squash soup with a parmesan crostini with sage leaf.
Roasted peppers and fennel with balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.
Roast pork loin with pork gravy and raspberry reduction.
Potatoes poached in cream and dill.
All followed with coconut cream pie
Delish! With gratitude always, to friends who are in our lives through all sorts of times and all sorts of food!
Although the clouds were close to the horizon for the blood moon and the eclipse, I caught the last minutes out my own window once I arrived home. A beautiful night, shared with people I love.
It’s a beautiful thing to have friends who journey the years with you…while not WITH you exactly, they are in your heart. Everything I’m about to write comes from the rewriting of memory. It’s interesting that when Randy Bogner sits down and recalls a story or two, it seems to me, that those stories can be completely different from the ones that I recall. But, such is life and its richness. In telling stories, people can create something new each time…you know what I mean? If you don’t share a zillion years then you don’t get to discover how this works. One must laugh and enjoy these experiences. They are the blessings of lives well-lived.
I met Randy what seems THAT zillion years ago. It was through those years when I had a beautiful and young circle of friends early 70s, in Lethbridge, Alberta. I was blessed to be able to meet and live with my dear friend, to this day, Gloria. These were the years of EOF projects, Employment Opportunities For Youth and several of our group were employed teaching drawing, clay and painting in tucked away places, like the Civic Skating Rink. I remember listening to one teacher-friend reciting poetry while sitting on a table and at the same time, braiding a bracelet. I remember riding my bike every where.
Given that my family had moved east again, as was my father’s military obligation, I found myself plunked into a world that was strange and unfamiliar to me. So, along with the new, that same bike would regularly be parked up against the outside wall of a variety of churches, finally resting up against the brick wall of St. Patrick’s parish and so began my journey toward becoming a Catholic.
These were the days of hippie earth children, long hair and the White Album. Randy’s hair was admired by everyone, given that it extended the full length of his back. And he was/is a tall drink of water, so that’s saying something. Cabarets were also big and while I didn’t drink, I enjoyed the lively music and dancing late into the night. Hmmm….a good time to inject some music. S’alright…you needn’t listen to the entire album, but you might set it to play while you’re reading this nostalgia.
These were the years of back yard visiting, Yukka Flux and communal foot washing/rubbing rituals. It was a different time.
I remember, as well, that Randy played classical guitar so beautifully and during gatherings there would be this amazing sound going on while our friends talked over it. These were the days when we had it ALL FIGURED OUT and we were going to change the world.
Glo was/is the one who I must give credit to making sure that, over the years, we all stuck together…stayed in touch…were informed on births, deaths, marriages and she is a blessing to us all! For example, she created this collage of photographs, some distant past and others from 2000. Her card…I save them all…is dated August 25, 2001.
I lost touch with Randy for a chunk of years as he disappeared into the Slocan Valley…lived with a family of wonderful brothers and sisters and created pottery. This, from the outside, appeared to be a spiritual quest for Randy and contributed to his forever-formation as a Christian, I’m certain. We joke about the only visit I made out to Slocan, along with my daughter and a then-boyfriend. The ‘Shack’ seemed to be so tucked away in the trees of the valley, that from the bottom of a dirt road, I started calling out to the trees…”Randy! Randy! Are you there, Randy?” It turned out to be a beautiful visit, however other-worldly.
A few photographs, snappled up without permission, to illustrate Randy of those days…late 70s-early 80s.
What happened after that…I don’t know. Years passed. Gloria, again, became the reason I reunited with Randy and his beautiful wife, Jane, and their girls. A lot had transpired for the Bogners before this meeting. But…not my story to share. It was such a blessing to meet Jane and now to know her as a true Ya Ya. Wonderfully warm and generous of spirit, I can now say that I’ve had opportunity, along with Glo, to share much home made bread, soup and pastries with Jane’s family. Another family that loves dogs as much as I do! Jane is a wealth of knowledge, especially around book recommendations and always has the right question to ask to inspire and to provoke thought. I admire Jane’s ability to cook, and especially delight in her baked goods, but I’ve also had opportunity to look at her art portfolio and I still look forward to a paint-out opportunity. We share many laughs when we are visiting the Bogners and I’m so grateful for these times.
The last huge body of work I painted was an exhibit titled The Places I Have Been, hosted by the Wallace Art Galleries and the Bogner family, Glo and several of her friends came out to support me. I don’t know what I’d do without friends like these. That collection of landscapes somehow represented, also, the landscape of these friendships and what they have come to mean over time.
2010 Visiting the Bogners
There’s That Warm Bread!
There’s That Home Made Soup!
2013 Visit With the Bogners and Meeting Juno
Room for Dessert? YOU BET!
Quiche, Home Made Bread, Salad and the Glo’s Gift of an Orchid
2014 Visit With the Bogners
I could go on and on with photographs and anecdotes, but suffice it to say today, Sunday, I’m grateful to the friends in my life. I’ve appreciated your support, your humour and your genuine love all of these years. Let’s remember always what these years have meant.
My dear friend, Bob, was in town and from the time we met up at the Central Branch Public Library, last weekend, until we got to my place to share dinner, we were able to fit in a few art events. I’ve posted about Bob before. We met at ACAD, sharing a third year studio space and conversed our way through many lunch hours. A lot of time has passed since 1998 and he has had a seat at many Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Likely our most memorable event was meeting up in Paris to enjoy art together and then some relaxed time in Monet’s part of the world, Giverny, France.
Over the years, I’ve commissioned Bob to paint several pieces for me, the most important being the ten magpie paintings through my final months of teaching, one to represent every season and one of Pauline’s window looking out onto Kootenay Lake. My treasured teacher from the University of Lethbridge is easily remembered each and every time I look up at the painting.
Painting by Robert Melville: Blue Glass Looking Out on Kootenay Lake
Bob and I walked over to C2, where the exhibition Voted Most Likely curated by Kim Dorland is happening and then I took him on to have his first ever wander of the Esker Foundation. Borrowed directly from the C2 description…Contemporary Calgary has invited Kim Dorland to guest curate an exhibition of artists who currently call – or have previously called – Calgary “home”. Featuring the work of emerging and established artists working in a variety of mediums, Voted Most Likely includes Chris Cran, Bradley Harms, DaveandJenn, Mark Lawes, Erik Olson, Annelie McKenzie, Tiffany Wollman, Pamela Norrish, Kent Merriman Jr, Stacey Watson, Kiarra Albina, Matthew Mark, Jeremy Pavka, and Chad VanGaalen.
I have decided that I much prefer attending these art exhibits in the quiet of my own time rather than during the busy and sometimes crowded opening events. If you are in the mood, however, openings are a great opportunity to meet up with the artists and converse about their process. Why not do both?
Regardless, it was a beautiful thing to meet up with my friend from Vancouver and share in delightful conversation about the work.
Elma slipped away without my knowing. Within our family circle, she had been a forever-friend and I can not remember life without her. And then, after my knock at her door and my entry into her home, I discovered her chair was gone. Her things were gone. Elma was gone. And no words were left behind.
Elma passed on April 8 of 2013. I was sitting next to my beautiful Mom in Belleville General Hospital the day that Elma passed away.
At Thanksgiving, I remember Elma because for most of twenty-five Thanksgivings, maybe thirty, Elma was sitting at my feast table, with my children and our friends. I will remember her again this year. I love you, Elma, and may you rest in peace.
I just sliced some meatloaf and set it down on fresh grainy bread, slathered the bread lightly in butter and mustard and served it up with a dill pickle and a cold glass of milk.
Every day, I am grateful for the blessings of good food and water. These are among our basic human needs, but certainly I know the difference between the abundance I enjoy and the discrepancy with what is available to most members of my global human community.
This past summer, I was blessed to have my father with me and together we enjoyed many culinary delights, both on the road and here at home. Over the past five years, my father has become an amazing cook and he has many pointers and recipes to share. It is a joy to sit down with good company and consume amazing food. As we approach our family Thanksgiving feasts, let us remember to be grateful and, when possible, let us share of our abundance.
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.”
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.
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!
This meeting was inspiring and was so chucked full of wisdom and goodness, that I’m going to let the two photos I post speak for themselves. I passed Bernard his son’s drawing in the Denny’s parking lot. He passed me this beautiful feather. I wept. He kept saying, “Jordan did that.” We shared a prayer, a meal and shared a world of ideas. I am blessed. This was proof again that a person’s life goes on. Watch what the Creator God has for you today. Try to notice instead of rushing past the lesson He has for you.
Bernard and I shared tears about his son. I continue to think about Jordan, an exceptional artist and I’m glad that I treasured his drawing for all of those years and that I was able to return it to family.
BEARSHIRT, Jordan Bernard – May 26, 1968 – May 29, 2013 Jordan Bernard Bearshirt of the Siksika Nation passed away May 29, 2013 to be with our creator at the age of 45. Jordan was known for his sense of humour and kindness. He is survived by his father, J. Bernard Bearshirt; Uncle Rodger (Patti), Uncle Victor Starlight, Terry Krueger, Aunt Elizabeth, Alice Spence, Auntie Pauline Little Chief; Grandmothers: Gertrude Turning Robe, Rosellam Manyshots, Irene Favel; Sisters: Sharon, Josie, Marie (Josh), Tammy, Robin, Loretta (Darin), Lori (Max); Brothers: Gordon, Sheldon (Jaylene); Traditional Siblings: Darcie Brertton, Jerry Hill, Jade McHugh, Jocko McHugh and numerous Nephews, Nieces, and Cousins. Relatives: Sunwalks, Manyshots, Breakers, Wolf Legs, Sitting Eagles, Yellow Suns, Crowchiefs, Many Guns, Little Chiefs, Sam Pelletier (Heather), Axes. We apologize if we have missed anyone. Jordan was predeceased by his Mother, Nancy Bearshirt; Stepmother, Linda Bearshirt; Grandparents: James and Helena Bearshirt and Uncle Ronald Bearshirt. The family would like to acknowledge The Grey Eagle Casino for their support. Wake Service will be held at Sister Celine Memorial Parish (Siksika Nation, AB) on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Siksika Nation, AB) on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 11:00 am with the Rev. Gerard LeStrat, Presider. Graveside Service to follow at Old Chief Crowfoot Cemetery (Siksika Nation, AB).
1 large turnip and buckets of carrots A bag of cooking apples peeled, cored and chunked 2 tbsp butter 1/4 cup brown sugar Dash of cinnamon
Topping: 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup flour 2 tbsp melted butter
Cook turnip and carrots until tender. Amounts may vary depending on the gaggle of people you invite. Mash with butter. Slice apples and mix with brown sugar and cinnamon. In a large casserole dish, layer the turnip/carrots and apples. Combine the topping ingredients and put on top of turnip, carrots and apples. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour.
Having lived in Milano, Italy; Diana and Umberto’s contribution to dinner was Strawberry Tiramisu. It was a heavenly dessert and you can see why! I consider this couple to be one of the most well-read and ‘smart’ couples I know. I found their stories at our feast table in good humour and so amazing! I am grateful for Diana and Umberto!