Around noon, Cathy, Anne and I hiked up to Ptarmigan Cirque, one of the most magical landscape bowls that I’ve come across. A scenic drive from Longview, I feel myself unwind every time I have the opportunity to do this.
A little earlier in the season, I was gobsmacked by the multitude of Glacier Lilies that were in full bloom, as well as White-flowering Mountain Avens (Dryas hookeriana). These made the hike today really special.
Be warned, the trails this summer, are heavily traveled compared to any other year. On one hand, it excites me that so many people, with their children, are getting out to see the wonders that Alberta/B.C. offer. On the other hand, sometimes I worry about preparedness as I see little children heading up in little sandals and no jackets. (The wind up at the top was cold and pretty powerful today. I guess everyone learns their lessons in their own time, so, I’m leaving these thoughts as mere observations.
The air was so intoxicating. It was cool and fragrant.
Conversation was easy among friends. I loved sharing the trail with these two. Again, my words are going to be limited, here, but I am excited to share a little bit of what we experienced today in photographs. Anne and Cathy, I love you, dear friends.
I was running behind, having spent some time taking care of ‘matters of consequence’ on the home front. Once turning in toward Westhills Starbucks, I felt the excitement, even in the pouring rain, of getting out to Many Springs and discovering our wild flowers.
We missed Wendy. We missed Carla. And, we missed Darlene. And, we missed Darren, too! Oliver and Cam, glad you could join! We shared many remembrances as we made our way from our meet-up and headed for the Bow Valley Parkway and then on to our hike. Only one other group was out on the trail while we were there.
Everything was lush and the colours were more saturated as we wound our way past Middle Lake and on to the parking. Only a single ‘Bear in the Area’ sign, so nothing to be concerned about.
I don’t think we saw as many orchids as usual, but we certainly saw many more wild Tiger Lilies.
IT POURED….especially as we made it back to our cars. Thank you, Val and Cathy for sharing this time. It almost feels sacred.
When the ladies send me their shots, will publish them here…photo credit: Val Vine and Cathy Szata.
While we didn’t verbally acknowledge it, this day, my friend Ramona’s birthday, was a perfect celebration of the Summer Solstice.
Ox Eye Daisy
While the sky was threatening and the air very humid, I was grateful that the weather held and we made our way back to our cars. It was magical to see a lovely bride and her wedding party making their way to the river’s edge and I’m glad that they had only the mosquitoes to contend with, but no lightening.
My 65th birthday began as most days do, with time well-spent at the edge of the Bow River. The vast numbers of Midges at the river meant that Swallows were feeding in droves of thousands, skimming the water over and over again. The Bald Eagle adults were feeding new youngsters on the nest and this always creates lots of magic at the river. While the day was turning out to be grey and a little chilly, I still felt that I was able to breath, relax and do a little reflecting about what my life is all about, what I value and what is important to me.
In the afternoon, on the advice of my middle daughter, I watched a couple of episodes of the The Great Canadian Baking Show. I laugh as I think about this because the last thing I am is a baker. It was relaxing and mindless television and that was okay.
Colourful gifts were appearing on my dining table. Thank you, Kathy and Val!
I walked Max…
I captured a quick photograph of our new vent resident…
…before heading over to my daughter’s for a Dragon Pearl take out dinner. The Dragon Pearl brings up so many memories for our family. It’s been our favourite family restaurant since the children were in high chairs. I miss and love all of the people who cook and serve at this beautiful little spot in Inglewood.
While any food in a take-out situation doesn’t taste exactly the same as if you are eating it in the restaurant, it was a generous and loving thing to sit down with one of three children and to eat such delicious food. After all, my grandson was sitting at the end of the table, entertaining me with his enthusiasm about the cupcakes that were hiding over in the red pan. I opened his card and he vibrated with excitement and loving smiles.
A little over halfway through the meal, he started pointing and saying, “Auntie Cayley” over and over again. My son-in-law’s eyes started shifting side to side. He was just acting weird. So, finally, I looked over my shoulder to the front yard and saw Pigeon on the yard, pressing mounted balloons into the gardens. I saw her partner, Shawn, waving and signalling. I went to the door and was excited enough about the balloons and the company when all of a sudden cars began to file past, covered in hand made banners and decorations. The participants bonked their horns enthusiastically!
Oh my gosh! It was a stream of my friends in cars! Let me tell my readers something.
On the television feel-good news stories and on social media, we’ve all seen friends and families and teachers creating parades for friends, family members and students. It looks like a lot of fun. It also warms your heart when you see it. But, to have it happen in your own life is beyond exciting. I broke out into an immediate ugly cry, sobbing uncontrollably. I felt such overwhelming love pour into my life. It would have been perfect had my son been able to be there to enjoy it, but truthfully, it was an experience I will never forget!
We celebrated with yummy cupcakes, a sip of wine, lawn chairs and more birthday greetings, reminiscing and physical distance. I loved this experience…a combined effort of love and celebration. Thank you, friends and dear family! If you wish to really make someone’s heart swell and to fill them with an affirmation of love, try throwing them a parade. These are pandemic times, so throw pandemic parades!
Another way to communicate with your loved ones through these crazy times is through Messenger. I used to call this Face Time, but then what do I know? To enjoy a messenger visit, I have to log on to Facebook.
Go to the messages icon at the top.
In the top white band, you will see the New Group option. Click on that.
You will see a list of friends and to the right of each of their names, a circle. Click on the name of each person you want to join a particular chat.
Click the word, Create, that appears in the bottom right. You have formed your group.
When you wish to chat and see this group, instead of clicking on the telephone icon on the top right, click on the wee movie projector. A large screen will pop up and people will join as they answer their calls.
Sometimes it’s nice to establish, as much as you can, a time that works for all when using any of these methods. As well as time and day, some within your circle may have to use these technologies throughout their work week, from home, and it may be too much to expect them to use the same technologies in their down time. Be very amiable to some people opting out when you make the invitation. It can be really exhausting to always be connecting through technology. We yearn for real connection, but sometimes we just do the best we can.
I use Messenger as a way of connecting with my siblings and my father on Sunday afternoons. It has become a short, sweet gathering that I truly enjoy. We haven’t been the greatest as staying in touch with one another over the years, so this is something very new and I really really love it. Here are a couple of screen shots from messenger gatherings. We live in Comox, Calgary and Ottawa.
I’ve also used this method for one-on-one chats with my high school friend, Ramona, who lives in Michigan. With her, I can talk about worries, fears, good books and landscapes…we shared a few sunrises since beginning this connection.
My cousin Margy can always make me laugh. She can update me about family in southern Alberta. We can truly relax with one another.
I spend a lot of time alone these days…by making these connections on various systems, I am able to remain close, while far away. I love you all!
If I was to archive each and every day, down to bare bones, I would get absolutely nothing done and would not fully live that day. The day would become full of the archiving and the magic would be missed. I’ve had several full days since living and breathing two Fridays past, but I haven’t forgotten its beauty. I began with a poem because poetry whittles a full written expression to its essence. The words capture the magic of the day.
It all began as most days do, at the edge of the Bow River. It seemed that I would be encountering strong females and it so happened that the Bald Eagles were sitting together. The female is on the left. She’s so incredibly beautiful.
The female coyote has raised two stunningly handsome youngsters, now one year old. It’s been a wonderful year of viewing their forays.
Then it was off, for my very first time, to Bell’s in Marda Loop.
What I didn’t capture in photographs is the lovely person who shared the table with me. Thank you, Teresa, for the latte and the delicious slice of home made banana bread.
Teresa Posyniak has a life-giving spirit and is a strong woman who lifts up other women through her genuine interest in them. Her art oozes with copious texture and is both strong and fragile. I will treasure our rich conversation and hope to follow, more closely, her exploration of topics such as resiliance. Teresa’s is an artistic voice to listen to and I encourage my readers to connect with her work through the links I’m providing here.
I was whizzing off to Joan’s next, but not before a quick stop at cSpace.
Cassie Suche’s Sway series was refreshing, tucked away at one end of the second floor. Very organic and slightly humourous at the same time, I really enjoyed the work created on her one-month residency.
Marty Kaufman’s blown glass…Eroded Forms drew me in. Such milky forms. I absolutely love them.
Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever gone into the cSpace without looking at the stairwell murals done by Daniel J. Kirk and Katie Green. They are lovely and different times of day evoke a mysterious sense of light and so therefore, a different experience, each time a person makes their way up and down the various floors.
A new experience for me was to hit upon the Blackboard Gallery. I went with the intention of seeing these works, the urban landscapes done by Melanie Figueroa. She is someone I follow on Instagram, but I had never seen her work in the flesh. This gallery is a sweet little space. I ended up totally wrapped up in a conversation about jewelry with Melanie Archer. I’ll be back.
By this time, I needed to set out for the lodge. Joan and I spent a generous hour pouring over her sketchbooks, nicely organized by Sandy. We dug in deep, sharing about light and dark, texture, pattern and the act of creating. It’s not everyone who can enjoy a conversation like that so much, but the two of us certainly did. Sheila arrived and we shared yet another wonderful conversation.
So, it turns out, this was the landscape of my day two Fridays past. I think of the women in my life as being remarkable in so many ways. I am blessed by their goodness and their strength. I am grateful.
I think that if you’re living in Calgary, you’re likely really happy that this has been a long weekend. Tonight, folks are washing their work clothes and there’s the smell of steam in the air as the shirts get pressed for the coming week. It was glorious to have that extra day. While this weekend has seen a return of winter, it has certainly been warmed by friendship, family and feasting!
Food brings people together. Yesterday I headed to beautiful Wendy’s home, where she has taken on a monthly gathering called Brunch with Buds. For this event, I made, for the first time, a batch of Chai french toast. I was excited and looking forward to seeing my friends and meeting new ones. Conversations flowed and wove in and out of the cozy rooms. Surrounded by art, good smells and music we were all put to ease and the stresses of the world fell away, at least for a short time.
I caught Jocelyn, mid-sentence. But, look at that cute waffle maker!
Educator, ally, life long learner, artist and lover of live music, this is a strong woman! I Love you, Jocelyn!
Anam Kazim is a former member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Here, she is posing in front of a portrait that was a collaboration of create! participants when Wendy initiated a number of classes and events in the East Village as it related to the Golden Age Club, at the time. Artist and photographer, Michael Collette, spearheaded this collaboration.
Anam is open, warm and very articulate and presently exploring entrepreneurial pursuits, offering health and wellness solutions via natural/herbal medicine. Anam is a strong woman.
I caught Karen Pickles in this beautiful shot. What a driven and inspiring woman who cares for and is motivated by needs of ‘the other’. She is another one of our circle who loves live music and is a maker. Her mediums include film and paint, but are not limited to those. She is the President and CEO of Stresscase and she is a strong woman!
Steven and Katrine are in deep conversation. It might be that they are talking about Jazz, or possibly Beakerhead. Katrine is a Geologist…that makes two Geologists in my circle of friends. By sharing in these brunches, Wendy is giving us the opportunity to put our heads together. I just love it! Steven is on his way to becoming a jazz percussionist. He inspires me. He also has such a sense of humour. I like that he can make me laugh so easily. I wish I could laugh more.
I really wanted to capture a particular sensibility here, with Stephen as my subject; the hyacinth to the right, the boxes of inspirational cards and angel cards stacked on the coffee table. Stephen is a writer and he is also one of the most incredibly supportive people I know. His calm demeanor helps me to open up and over the years I’ve felt I can trust him with my ideas, my challenges. He is steadfast. I didn’t capture his blue eyes here, but he has incredible blue eyes. Stephen is a good human being.
Suzanne Presinel looked so familiar to me, but this was our first time meeting in a situation where we could sit back and chat about ALL SORTS of topics. We realized at some point that we’ve encountered one another at Esker programs…where Suzanne volunteers on a regular basis. The most wonderful thing is that she is deeply entrenched in the Boomerang Bag Global Grassroots Movement, here in Calgary. Suzanne is a strong woman.
The food….well, the food was exceptional. That’s all I can say. Beautiful coffee was served and the various dishes were scrumptious. Just look at this salmon mousse and the wee chicks on this serving dish!!
Here’s a strong woman! Lauraine has just grown to be such a special and supportive friend. She is an amazing mother and she is a remarkable person to have in my circle. Always helpful, she seems to fill gaps. Lauraine is creative and like so many of us, she too, loves live music. She inspires me to seek balance and to takes steps to simplify my life. She is a practicing Psychologist as well as part of a high school student services team. I can only imagine that Lauraine is likely making a huge impact on people’s lives, especially adolescent lives. We need more like her.
I’ve met Sarah before and know her to be a generous and caring neighbour. She loves fun and is open. This is her friend, Kat, who I met for the first time. I have to say that I really enjoyed our conversation and look forward to seeing her again.
And here she is….Wendy. She is the lady who made this wonderful brunch happen! Wendy is smart, funny and has a huge heart. She works so hard. No one works harder…but always work that makes for good and that she loves. Wendy is a connector. She has brought a world of people together over time. When with Wendy, the conversation is inspiring and positive. Despite the troubles in the world or in the community or even close to home, Wendy is one of those people who looks at a situation and asks herself, “What is it that I can do?” She brings the positive into conversations. She is a maker! So much collaborative work and creation happens within our city because she makes it happen. Teaching at the Colonel Belcher, the Central Library….working with innovators and linking up with Mount Royal…and let us NOT FORGET her amazing abilities as a creative in the kitchen. Food just tastes way better when Wendy prepares it! Thank you for the blessing of your friendship, Wendy. You are such a strong woman.
I drove home feeling energized, with a whole number of conversations floating in my mind. It was time to clean my house. I was excited that today I would host my family for a nice hot breakfast.
Photos? Not a one! I guess that speaks to the fact that we were totally wrapped up in…..nope, not the food….my grandson!! I shared Steven’s home made Valentine’s paintings with everyone and then it was all about the french toast, for Steven.
I’m grateful for my children and for Shawn and Doug. I felt blessed. Thank you to Cayley and Shawn for bringing our celebratory Prosecco and orange juice! My family means the world to me.
Oh! I DID get one photograph….QWIRKLE board! One game under our belts!
“It took ages to coordinate our schedules but we finally all made it to the very inviting and interesting home of Kath for a delicious clam chowder feast, visit with Max, studio tour, and big catch up!
Along with the chowder, Kath treated us to Rappie, a traditional Acadian dish she recalled from her childhood. It’s made with shredded potatoes and fatty pork – yum! Tammy and Jas brought homemade pickles, spring flowers and a canned treat. Karen brought Red River bread she’d made, and we enjoyed Christmas baking brought all the way from Nova Scotia by Stephen made by his mom, Betty. Oh, and I didn’t get the memo about drinking at noon being OK but Lauraine brought vino from the Rockyridge growing region in Calgary’s NW. Steven made the very same selection!
What a tasty and heartfelt meal. My only quibble with our gathering was there just wasn’t enough time to visit thoroughly with every one of these wonderful people ❤️”
I’m posting Karen’s bread recipe here. It’s amazing! Red River Bread Photo Credit: Wendy Lees.
Red River Bread
2 cups water
3/4 cup red river cereal
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup molasses
2 teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast (fast rising works great)
4 1/2 cups flour
Combine 2 cups water in pan with cereal. Boil then simmer 5 mins or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add butter, molasses and salt. Cool completely.
Dissolve sugar in lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast and proof for 10 minutes.
Combine yeast with cooled cereal mixture.
Using a wooden spoon mix in all of the flour to make a stiff dough.
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Form a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, covering the whole ball with grease. Cover with wrap and let rise (can use oven to proof) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until ball doubles in size.
Punch down dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half and shape into loaf pans. 8×4
Cover and let rise for about and hour. Then bake at 375 F. 30-35 mins.
Loaves will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from pan and let cool. Enjoy!
Tammy and Wendy, Stephen and Steven and Lauraine, brought yummy things. I wasn’t archiving at the time, but, my buddies were. The following two photographs, though, were mine taken this morning. The next time you pickle, Tammy, I want to be there. They got eaten tooo fast for a photograph!
Photo display I made, in order to acknowledge my family.
Thank you, Jas and Tammy for the springtime flowers! So beautiful when it’s -40 outdoors.
Check out the jar of pickles in the photograph, below. This one must be Tammy’s shot. I’m sorry I didn’t get an image of the plate of baked goodies Stephen and Steven shared. Oh man! So good!
The photo journal above is a collection of photographs taken by Wendy and Tammy. We always have so many laughs when we gather. I’m grateful for all of you! Being with friends and sharing conversation/food/beverages and/or live music/dancing is so life-giving.
Please take note of Max (I snapped that one), only an hour after the lunch…completely played out!
The snow has been coming down steadily since last evening and this morning there was a thick blanket. It’s beautiful, but it is also a bit overwhelming as one anticipates the many months of darkness and cold.
The weekend, however, held many blessings. I spent the past months contacting people, media and organizations about the importance of recognizing that on September 28th each year, we are to remember and recognize over 100,000 children who were brought to Canada to serve as indentured servants across the nation. My great grandfather was one. This year marks 150 years since the arrival of the first of these children.
I really enjoy my friendships in this group, including Bruce, Hazel, Connie, Donna and Anna and really appreciate all of their hard work and their dedication. I am also grateful to my daughter, Erin, who attended but who also dragged chairs around, assisting where she could and Kelly, Hazel’s daughter, for her wonderful support in loading, displaying and just generally being helpful and included.
Five descendants shared their family narrative with the large group of people who came out on a dreary bad-weather day. Every generation was represented and questions were thoughtful and engaged the panel. There was lots of time for socializing and connecting with one another. A very special artifact for the group in Western Canada, of course, is the Memory Quilt that was lovingly constructed by Hazel.
As I drove home late in the afternoon, I felt grateful for the presentations and grateful for the people I worked with.
In the evening, I turned on my porch light, but unlike other nights, I took a moment to pause and think about the injustice that was perpetrated on so many innocents. I hope to, over time, help in educating the public about this part of Canada’s history.
The Beacons of Light, in recognition of 150 years included the lighting of the Calgary Tower and last night’s lighting of Reconciliation Bridge. Thanks to Bruce Skilling for his photograph of the bridge.
Photo Credit: Bruce Skilling
Photo Credit: Anna Webber
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Connie Falk
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Kathleen Moors
Photo Credit: Session Attendee
Photo Credit: Session Attendee
Photo Credit: Bruce Skilling
Photo Credit: Bruce Skilling
If you would like to be included in our contacts, have any questions at all or would like to suggest venues and activities, we’d love to hear from you. You may contact me through this blog or through the e mail connected to this blog. We also invite you to peruse our Facebook page, although our group is primarily made up of descendants living in the west. We are most agreeable to helping you with your research questions.
Finally, I will try to post Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s remarks.
Several events unfolded yesterday that were totally out of my control. These events did NOT happen to me, but happened to two of my children. As every mother knows, when things spin out of control for a child, it is a natural outcome to want to swoop in and save them from the experience and the outcome. Even at not intervening yesterday, I was thrown into a ‘spazz’, as Alyssa writes. I haven’t learned in life to ‘still the fluctuations of my mind’…but as I read these bits this morning, I certainly can see the value in doing so.
So, thank you for the words and as this morning feels full of calm, it is easier for me to look back over yesterday, with a clear perspective. I am thankful for conversations with Adrienne and with Karen. I am grateful for the engaged presence of Shawn. I am thankful for a full night of sleep. It is a celebration that I rolled over and looked at my clock lit up in the darkness of morning, to discover that indeed, I had slept until 6:30, instead of a week-long frustration of 2:00 am wake ups. I apologize that I went a little off grid yesterday and was a grumpy-pants with some of the peeps in my life. Today is a new day. And I hope that when, next time, there are circumstances beyond our/my control, that I will climb up onto that strong branch and look down upon the situation, with a degree of separation.
The Bald Eagles have left their typical routines at the edge of the Bow River and both juveniles are absent. It is very quiet as autumn approaches. Here are the last photographs of Mr. who after a summer of raising two juveniles on his own, is remarkable and held, by me, in high regard. Here are the last photographs of the juvenile that really resisted leaving his home, the nest and its territory.
Mornings are darker and the sun fades earlier. I am experiencing some loss of the rich sights and sounds of summer. With the full moon, I feel that I am entering the next season and I am assured that it, also, will be beautiful.
I’ve received some recent e mails from my friend that fill me to the brim with the love of nature. It is interesting and I do contend that one needn’t go very far in order to enter into the mysteries of the natural world. And so, I share these words, without permission to illustrate that point. (sorry, friend)
One day. “You would have liked the view from my kitchen window. As I unloaded my groceries I thought of you. Blue jays came calling. Flying among the shrubs and trees. Perhaps finishing off the few apples, raspberries and saskatoons that are still on the branches. If i took pictures there could have been some good ones.”
Another. “So, I cleaned bathrooms, quick vacuum, suppers ready and now im going to watch tennis. But this morning there were lots of robins. Don’t they leave, shouldn’t they be gone. And a couple of flickers eating ants in my lawn, good thing, but they do stir up the roots, not so good.”
And finally. “Went out to my gardens today with the intentions of moving some lilies around. My tiger lilies in front are too tall and some Asiatic in the back get hidden. Planted them with good planning at the time, i thought, but the ways of gardening you need to change things. However, the ground was a bit too wet. Did pick mushrooms, again, in my lawn. Heard Mr. Hole the other day say mushrooms in the lawn are a good thing!
Deadheaded a few perennials and cut down most of my delphiniums as the leaves have now turned brown.
Lots of perennials still in bloom, fall asters beginning to blossom. Sending a couple of pics. My primula is back in bloom again. It is one crazy plant, blooms for about 3 months in spring, rests for a couple and then starts again. None of my other primulas do this. So, don’t know if its location or variety and of course haven’t the tag anymore. Even with the summer blooms gone there is still so many shades of green to enjoy.
And, wished you were here to identify a bird that was out the whole time with me. Googled and think it was a downy woodpecker. Cant say I’ve ever seen one in my yard like that before. White breast, black and white feathers and no everyone is was not a magpie. Rat a tat tat on my bamboo stakes the whole time. Bamboo is strong, I would have thought its beak would get sore.
Still lots of robins and blue jays in the gardens. And everyday a lone flicker comes to eat the ants. Wonder if it is the same one and why doesn’t it tell its friends to come feast at my place. So, I have put up with ants and aphids in hopes that the birds can live without my use of pesticides.”
I feel blessed with the beauty of these descriptions of ordinary moments, that truly ARE extraordinary! Thank you, friend, for taking me to the peaceful sanctuary of your garden through words.
Now, I’m posting just a couple of your photographs, without permission. Get back to me if you wish me to remove any/all of your creative material. I’m celebrating your connection with nature and the beauty of your garden this morning.
Photo Credit PT
Photo Credit: PT
Today, I’m going to try to be more mindful. I’m going to demonstrate calm. I hope that I can be here, in a healthy capacity, for those who need me.