Chasing Neowise 2020

All my life, I’ve been amazed by the night sky. It is not an unusual thing to see me looking up, whether day or night.

I have some wonderful and very special memories about loading the van up with sleeping bags and rousing my children at two in the morning to drive out past Canada Olympic Park, in order to watch meteorite showers.

My son and I were truly blessed one night, when we were both much younger, to share the Northern lights from sleeping bags parked on our own front yard. The green dancing lights entertained us for hours.

These are moments I will never forget.

I started my hunt for Neowise comet at the dawn, driving the entire length of Deerfoot Trail at 4:30 in the morning, only to find Neowise could be seen best at around 4. Then began the night time hunt, for several evenings, from the ridge above the Bow River. It is kind of spooky walking pathways between midnight and three in the morning, all on your own. Surprisingly enough, I met up with a young man at my perch on the first evening. There were other nights just like that one, where I was being chewed up by mosquitoes while standing on benches along the river pathway, searching the sky.

When, first, I saw Neowise, I bumped into a lovely couple in the pitch black. They were wrapped in blankets, hot chocolate in hand, sitting on lawn chairs, and whispering in quiet voices. Honestly, for a moment, I was spooked. It was that couple that oriented me to the location of our comet in the heavens. From that moment, I knew what I would be looking for on following nights. Armed only with a cell phone, this is my first shot of the comet.

The next night, I went hard core…out to Okotoks Erratic at 12:30 in the morning!

The wonderful thing about that experience was that there were maybe six other photographers out and about at the location. My quick observations came from a place of NO knowledge of photography, but all sorts of things seemed to be going on. I just started taking pictures with my cell phone because there she was in all of her glory! A man was standing in the foreground, upon a huge boulder, but I thought that this gave the images more interest. In the end, a person really should go on line and see some of the wondrous photographs taken by members of the Aurora Chaser’s group. They are unbelievable!

I met wonderful and generous hearts, Daniel and Arleney and their three children in the darkness. Daniel (I didn’t know his name at the time) was the man captured in silhouette in my photographs, above.

In an act of total abandon and without thinking much about it, I asked the couple if they would snap a photo of me looking at the comet. I really think that was a tad pushy, but kindly enough, they agreed. Little did I realize at the time the knowledge and experience these two have with nighttime photography. They are TRUE aurora chasers! Here is the result. Photographer: Daniel Sanchez Salazar I will be forever grateful to Daniel for this capture of Neowise Comet.

To follow this event, I knew that I wanted my adult children, if possible, to see the comet. My first born and her husband, I realize, have their little son, bedtime and work days to think about. The other two agreed, though, that on the next night (without clouds) they would be ready to join me in the wee hours of morning. While there was a thin veil of clouds in the sky, we still managed to captured the softest presence of the comet.

2020 has been the strangest of years, hasn’t it? It is important that as often as possible, we look for the magic. We are writing our collective histories. I am so grateful that so many professional photographers and darned good hobbyists have captured this comet in all of her glory.

Next up…watch for meteorite showers and fire balls!

John Moors (1876 – 1918) Recent Connections

This is a very brief post that serves only to express gratitude for the recent and generous connections I have made related to my Great Grandfather John Moors (1876 – 1918).  What a wonderful thing it is to have cousins discover my writings and research and to respond!  These Paternal relations include Charlene, Jacqueline and now, James. Thank you, for your connection. For about 15 years, I’ve been fanatically engaged in research on both my mother and father’s sides of the family.

Some would ask, “Why does it matter?…or… “What does it all mean, anyway?”…but, there is something innate within me that wants to know who my people are.  It is a weakness.

Long-story-short, I have always looked for a photograph of my Dad’s Grandfather, in uniform.  Every Remembrance Day, I was disappointed that I had only the image of his wedding day.    He died and is buried in Etaples, France.  He was lying in General Canada Hospital #51, when during the night, a bombing raid orchestrated by the Germans, decimated most of  the location and killed John Moors. I’ve thought that he should be remembered. Don’t get me wrong.  I was happy about having the wedding photograph…but, imagine my excitement when, randomly, Charlene sent a photograph over the internet from her home to mine…and to, in a flash, have my Great Grandfather’s visage appear face-to-face with me on a screen in 2018.  GAHHHHH!

Enough said…first, our family’s single archive up until now…my Great Grandmother Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors in the center front and my Great Grandfather John Moors back right.

wedding jpg best copy of Great Grandfather John Moors

I took this photograph of a photograph that my Auntie Eleanor had hanging in her home.  When it comes to gathering family history, I’m not super fussy about archival quality of images.  It’s a simple blessing to have  moments of history sustained and easily available to as many family members as is possible and as quickly as possible.  I think I’ve written about this before…that ‘in the day’ how would family members even include one another in these histories?  We are sooo blessed!

Here he is!  My Great Grandfather!  What a handsome man!  My father said he had striking red hair, much like my own Grandfather Moors did and now, my own beautiful daughter.

John Moors Great Grandfather

I’m hoping that Betty Silver’s daughter has an opportunity to see this as I know that she was on the look out for the very same image, saying (as other relations remembered) that a large framed photograph of John in uniform hung in the family dining room.

Second to this, Charlene shared what looks like a younger image of this John.

John Moors Great Grandfather 2

He looked dapper.  I try to imagine as I look at this image, that here is captured the 13 year old who came by ship, on his own…a British Home Child who worked very hard on at least three farm placements including Elora and two outside of Guelph.  This was likely taken during his Hamilton days.

And finally, a family photograph including my own Grandfather John Moors, his young brother Robert (Bob), his sister, Grace and his mother, Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors.  Mary Eleanor had striking dark eyes and hair…I see a lot of my father in her.  This would have been taken some time after the passing of their father and husband John Moors.

Grandfather John Moors

And finally, something that I just received tonight…icing on the cake!  My first cousin once-removed, James, has provided photographs of front and back of John’s military medal.  I’m so grateful that unlike so many families, this object has been cared for and cherished so that now, so many years later, all can enjoy.  Blessings on my family for their generous work.  My cousin, Teddy Witbeck, has been doing a remarkable job working on our family tree on Family Search.  As we continue to piece together our history, his work can be accessed.  Trust me, you will have a great head start that way!

Love you all.

John Moors back side medalJohn Moors medal front

I’ve written away and had much support attaining John’s military record…this medal assignment was included there.

John Moors (17)

Gestures of Love

Recently, like everyone else, I’ve been swept up in more fear and anger than usual because of the shifting tides of political, economic and philosophical posturing the world over.   We try, surrounded by the bombardment of ideas, reactions and media, to sort and sift things out, but sometimes, regardless of our efforts, cave to the tumult.

I was feeling the darkness of our times.

It seemed that last evening, there was a shift of this dark into light, as my dear cousin living in Utah, sent me a message to give him a call.  He’s known for a long time that I have a big heart for family research,  and a desire to find the pieces of our history, however narrative in nature and lacking in the documentation required to make real sense.  He and I, both, have worked on our paternal side for a very long time, in our own ways, if you count up all of the years between us.

I weep this morning, as I type here, about the lovely conversation shared between Dr. Ted (our name of affection for him) and myself.  Ted lead me through some of his research on our family.  It was like bags of sweets laid out before me. (Remember that feeling as a child?)  He guided me patiently, while the both of us logged on to a family ancestral site…this is a fan chart…click on person…click on tree…this is who this person was…and this one…here is the document…And so it went!  Any of you who do this sort of work know how generous this gesture of love is.  My grandfather, John Moors, would be so pleased.  My father, John Moors, will be, when he reads this.  Blessed!  I love you, Ted! And I will pour over every detail bit by bit and so much will be revealed to me!

This morning, I decided to continue to focus on the unbelievable possibility of the positive.  Rolling out of bed, I stepped into my slippers and shuffled upstairs to go through my morning rituals.  As a single woman, I typically do a day’s dishes in the evening, later than you choose, I’m sure, but, just the way I do things.  Last evening, I didn’t.  I expected to bury my hands and arms into warm sudsy water while the coffee maker burbled.  I like doing these things, although when I had a partner, I was over the moon about having a cup of coffee prepared for me and delivered to the sofa, while I either read the paper or eased into the day.  Rituals change and I have become very happy about treating myself to those tender gestures of support and kindness.


I woke to a note on my kitchen counter.

Went to
Made you
Leave the
dishes +
garbage. Will
do when I come

<3 you

My adult daughter and a gesture of love…makes everything feel different, doesn’t it?  When someone does you a kindness?  Little effort, but a whole spin that takes you to a place of reassurance and gratitude.  Thank you, Cayley.

I opened up Twitter while I sipped on this first hot cup of coffee.  This, after turning on the Tallest Man on Earth. (My cousin Peter finally showed me how to connect to those lovely speakers over there, with Bluetooth).

My friend, Wendy, had posted this…and I felt so grateful.  Something about me? Really?  The artist?  And the title of the piece, STABILITY!  Thank you, Wendy!



I’m feeling that these three gestures of love are a small smattering that represent the possibilities that are available to me today, these and the warm nuzzle of my Max Man pushing up against my thigh, here at the computer desk.  “Let’s go, Mom!  Let’s walk!”  Today, let’s all look for the gestures of love in our lives and look away from the natural draw to worry and sadness that pull at our heart strings these days, often issues that we have no control over.  Let’s simply do what we can, with a real focus of what are the blessings of our lives.  Create!



Cross-town Correspondence

Wendy and I are writing back and forth to one another by electronic mail this morning.  I’m sitting on pillows, recovering from my fall, my left arm leaning into yet another pillow as I type at the keyboard.  Wendy is recovering from serious medical interventions as of late and making me feel, as she writes about her experience with tremendous humour, that I really have nothing to complain about.  Her ‘stay’ at the hospital elicits several rants in tandem…all very poignant, if you’ve spent any time at all in hospital…but at the base of it, a consistent underlying zest for life and for observation.  Wendy can make me laugh out loud at pretty much any of life’s ‘poopy’ experiences.

From Wendy, without permission, this…and you’ll see what I mean….Food dreams ARE torturous! Counting the days until away from the hospital and really BAD food.  My awesome friends visited and brought me tea! Lifesavers!  As good as a purple blanket.  Real tea, not Red Rose in hot coffee water!

Sitting here listening to really old people snore! Thinking of a semi-private room just to get near the washroom! The Foothills is in short supply of washrooms!  All the 70/80 yr olds figure they have dibs! Younger bladders/bowels just gotta wait!!

Perhaps we can go for Ramen when I get out. There are a couple of great places in Kensington, both moderately priced and quite yummy! It would be a good lunch. Checked your food truck app lately? There are lots of other cool/inexpensive places we can meet.

Yesterday, Darren snuck me in a smoked meat sandwich at lunch and I’m afraid the results can only be described as ” food porn”. Sooooooo gooooood! He tells me he won’t post the vaguely embarrassing photos! Too intimate!

Over the holiday, Wendy’s family hosted yet another amazing feast.  Her husband, Darren, and daughter, Rebecca, never cease to amaze our ya ya group with their gourmet delights.  My photographs do not do this prime rib delight any justice at all.  Missing, is the sense of relaxation that comes with an expertly served dinner, served in courses, while good conversation is shared.  Also, there is something to be said for the proximity of the dining table to the kitchen, where the preparation happens seamlessly, sending out wafts of aroma throughout the experience.

I treasure Wendy.  I treasure her family.  I treasure this circle of friends who share the road…the sorrows and the joys, the drinks, humour, talents and feasting.  It is a wonderful thing!

All courses are aesthetically bang on!  Beautiful food.  Beautiful people.

First Course…cheese platter.

P1140344Second Course…fresh, light salad.

P1140345Rebecca provided us with warm bread.

P1140346Yes!  IT WAS THAT GOOD!

Where the magic happens…

P1140342 P1140343Main Course:

P1140348Tea is Served.

P1140353 P1140354Thank you, for your generosity.  Today, this causes me to think about how beautiful food is…flavours…and what it can do to heal the heart, especially when paired with the stories of forever-sister-friends.

A Gift From Kansas

When I returned home after time spent with my father, this past summer, I was determined to interview my paternal aunties about my family.  I had never felt such an urgency to record their stories as I did after losing my Mom, her laughter and her memories.  The thing is…once a person collects the archives, the narratives, the recordings and the photographs, it’s important to sort them into some concrete ‘container’.  They need to take a shape.

This morning, my camera battery is plugged into the wall recharging.  My tape recorder is set to pause at minute 22 of an interview with my Auntie Ruth Rollingson…my ancestral record from Dick Chandler (sent to me by my cousin, Anne) is open to L400 William Thomas Haddow and I am so excited and blessed, I am bursting at the seams!  Auntie Ruth speaks about her memories of my Great Grandmother, Mary Eleanor Haddow’s crocheting and her obsession with good manners and courteous behaviour.  Later, I will publish this recording here, as a part of the provenance of today’s MAGIC!  But for now…I have to write about yesterday’s delivery.

Mary Eleanor Haddow, with her family.  She is center back.

The Haddow Family

The Haddow Family

My grand Uncle, William Thomas Haddow (usually called Tom), married Emma Stafford.  (much more to be said about Emma…as well as her brother Charles, who apparently ended up a well known photographer in Calgary and archived by the Glenbow Museum…but that will have to wait).  Tom and Emma had two little girls; Agnes Mary (Mae) and Edith Emily.  When Edith married Robert McKeown, she received as a gift, a crocheted table cloth from my Great Grandmother Mary Eleanor.

Mary Eleanor Haddow on her wedding day to John Moors

Mary Eleanor Haddow on her wedding day to John Moors

Yesterday, I received a box delivered to my door, from my beautiful cousin Anne who lives in Kansas…you guessed it! Wrapped in tissue, lovingly, and with photographs that provide treasured provenance, the table cloth.  I broke out into tears AND hoots of every sort.  My cousin, Margy, joined me at the feast table as I retold the story for her.  I am so blessed beyond belief.  I ran my fingers over the delicate crochet, knowing that this was made lovingly by a woman I treasure simply through the few stories that remain of her.  I am grateful to you, dear Anne.

This photograph shows the table cloth in use sometime in the 1940s and includes young Anne, with her mother, Edith.

Photograph provided by my cousin, Anne.

Photograph provided by my cousin, Anne.

This next photograph shows Edith’s son, Gerry, enjoying a Christmas feast some time in the mid 1950s. An exceptional photograph…with a very special table cloth.

Photograph provided by my dear cousin, Anne.

Photograph provided by my dear cousin, Anne.

And this morning…warmed by Christmas light, the beautiful gift of a table cloth, to be treasured forever as a special remembrance and reminder of the power of family and of Christmas love.  Your generosity amazes me…I cry as I type these words.

P1140479Now, this treasure has been tucked away, to be kept safe for future generations.


Mom and Dad…Still Giving

I received a parcel four years ago from Mom and Dad.  It may have been the last year that Mom participated in shopping for Christmas for me before the Alzheimer’s disease stole so much from her.  I put it on a shelf…in a box…thinking that I wouldn’t ever replace a perfectly good and functioning coffee machine.  I owned my white ‘number’ since my #2 was born in 1986.  The past three weeks, I’ve been sticking doubled paper towel underneath my coffee maker so that the water that was leaking would stop spilling over my counter.

Today held the morning of magic; I went down to my basement storage area and brought out my NEW coffee maker.  In the storage room, I was squealing.   And then I went upstairs, read all of the safety concerns, set the bright blue digital numbers to the proper time and then made my first cups of coffee.  What a blessing!  The ‘whitish’ coffee maker is done…it served its years well and I pride myself that I didn’t toss it before its time had passed.

Rarely will I share BEFORE and AFTER shots…but here, it just seems a part of the celebration!

Thanks to the generous hearts of Mom and Dad!






When people go,
when people leave,
make some people cry,
make some people drink.

When people go,
when people leave,
it’s the saddest thing.

When people go,
is it like they’re asleep?
lost to the world,
in the longest dream.

Like when boats at sea,
never come back,
is it like that?

I think it’s going to be,
another long night,
i think it’s going to be,
another long ride.

When people go,
when people leave,
make some people cry,
make some people drink.

When people go,
when people leave,
it’s the saddest thing.

Dizzy in the head,
broke in the heart,
there’s no business,
it’s all art.

Until it’s far behind,
and it all comes back,
when people go it’s so sad, so sad, so sad,
so sad, so sad, so sad.

And goodnight,
and go home,
and there is nothing more to see,
just a song,
in a box,
some need to cry,
and please,
find a friend,
have a drink,
and go home,
taking two,
empty hearts,
go to bed and,
go to bed and.

Well goodnight,
go home,
there is nothing more to see,
my friend,
have a drink,
go to bed,
and tell them,
that you need them,
hold them hold them tight,

go home,
there is nothing more to see.

go home,
there is nothing more to see.

go home,
there is nothing more to see.

I think it’s going to be a long long night.

go home,
there is nothing more.

go home,
there is nothing more to see.

Go home.

Sistah Love! (And God Loves You Too)

As I consider this week’s celebration of my sister’s birthday, I am filled with gratitude for who she is for me and who she has always been for our family.  Recently, with Mom’s illness, she didn’t hesitate to travel to be a support to Mom and Dad and to send all of us an evening update.  For this, and for all of the love and affection she has shown us over the years, I want to express my love.  Thank you, for all of the drives from airports and trains and your generosity in every aspect of your life.  I am wishing you much encouragement in your hectic week and know that you are always in my heart.  I’ve saved every little piece of writing or drawing…every photograph that has been popped into the mail over the years…and so now, I pass a few of these tidbits back to you.

PS PS God Loves You

PS PS God Loves You

Here, I like "To a Good Kid", this from someone 12 years younger.

Here, I like “To a Good Kid”, this from someone 12 years younger.

Val 4Val 6 Val 3

It was good to meet you, Chris Flodberg!

I have admired the work of Chris Flodberg for years.  From the time I used up my father’s leftover pots of oil colour (He was a real fan in the late 50s/early 60s of paint-by-numbers.), I’ve enjoyed the smell of linseed oil.  The memory of the years and years of painting with oils when most artists were using acrylics, makes me smile.  Such a yummy medium!  It is also a rich experience to work with the paint over a longer period of time than what polymers will allow.  It is his sensitive use of this medium, that causes me to really, really enjoy Chris Flodberg’s work

On the day when I believed it to be unfortunate to be a day early for On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City featuring A Matter of Trust, hosted by the Public Library, I ended up being very-much blessed by the Encounters exhibit at the Glenbow Museum.  Second to that, I was exiting the second floor by the stairs,  just as the artist, Chris Flodberg, and a friend were heading up those same stairs.  Initially, we shared observations about the way that his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) was mounted in the stairwell.

It was a surprising and pleasant conversation because Chris then examined the context of the painting, its symbolism and explained how he staged his environment for the work.  It was such an awesome and serendipitous event!  I  recently wrote Chris, asking his permission to post the image of this interior here, so that I might more explicitly share some of those elements, so stay posted.

Uh huh!  Chris has given me his kind permission to post an image of his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) here.  A grander description to follow…but now, on to the off-leash!  Thanks, Chris.

"Love and War in the World of Men" 6'x4.5' 2004 Chris Flodberg

Chris pointed out some of the connections between Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and his own painting, Love and War in the World of Men.   If you look at the details; the orange perched on the window sill and the pair of shoes in the lower third of both compositions.  These elements create whimsy, along with an interesting continuity of what it means to be ‘a guy’ in a very intimate space.  I challenge my readers to find other such similarities in the content.

Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck


The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli

And the Wolf Shall Lie Down With the Lamb: Isaiah 11:6

Covenant Painting Inspired by Poet, George Bowering

I asked poet, George Bowering of Simon Fraser University if I might embed his words to the poem Wolf Between the Trees in my piece, representing the hope for peace, expressed in Isaiah 11.  His poem, published on this post, is an offering on the website, Canadian Poetry Online University of Toronto Libraries.  To my request that I use his words in the piece, George Bowering wrote to me,

Dear Ms Moors

I think I like what you’re doing.
So I’ll say sure, you can use “Wolf Between the Trees” in your art.
As long as I get a look at it somehow.


Wolf Between the Trees

George Bowering
From:   : Blonds on Bikes. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1997.

His wife, his wife,
his daughter, his daughter,
his granddaughter, her brother,
knelt in a circle
in huckleberry woods,
digging with fingers, under pine needles,
a small hole in which to place
smoking sweetgrass, optic moisture,
& by the grandson, his grandfather’s ashes,
gray Douglas Woolf, fine at last,
poured from expensive plastic bag
removed from official metal box,
taken from out a brown grocery bag,
his usual appertenance.


Fifty steps from here
he wrote accurate prose
in his favourite ramshackle cabin,

juncos rescued from the cat & buried
under bushes, small daughters
didnt know what they were
rehearsing, now

his favourite knitted cap
has a rock in it, thrown
far as can be into the woods

as they call them back in New England
where few people came
to know he was from, gone
back there as well as here, wouldnt
you say?


Now the women have a picnic,
sitting close as they can to the wolf in the woods,
huckleberry cider, jack cheese, bean & chile spread,
nothing from Europe, songs from mountain folk,
holed up in dark city, sitting firm
on clear prose, tears in all their eyes,
smiles on their faces, smoke from the sweetgrass,
no airliners in the sky, no
mote in that eye.

Below Nine Mile Creek, in Wallace,
Idaho it is 99 degrees. An old man in a see-through hat
leaned on the wall outside a bar.

I said when does it warm up? He replied
moving nothing but his toothpick,
wait till next winter.


Doug will be up there next winter,
no romance, no spooks, meaning
no, he will not be writing a story, that is
over. If you want to visit, use your fingers,
open a book,


Incorporation of Ash and Isaiah

In North Bay, Ontario, I climbed deep into a gully across the street from 42 Market Street to play…to imagine…to build imaginary kingdoms.  With all the moves that we had made and with a new one in the plan, I dug down deep into the pine needles.  I wrote my name into the soil, when I finally hit dirt…then carefully, I covered my name up with the soft needles, smoothing them over.  I thought perhaps, in doing this, a part of me would remain.  George Bowering’s poem gave me words that I needed when I first read it.  I’ve incorporated burnt ash and several match sticks…into the painting.  This piece is a many-layered piece that connects culture, narrative and covenant.

Bee Sting: OUCH!

The Anatomy of the Enemy


Since arriving home, I’ve tried to put some sense to the gardens, as well as, very gradually, set things right in the house.  It’s a slow process!  When I arrived home from running errands yesterday, I stooped over to clear out some weeds around a bush.  I wasn’t wearing garden gloves.  It was near the completion of the job that I felt a sting and saw, beneath some compost, a bee struggling to free itself.  At first it didn’t register that I had received my very first bee sting, but within moments, as the pain intensified, I put two and two together!  OUCH!

I ditched the garden and headed for the house, took a swig of liquid benylin in the kitchen and reached for the phone to call my daughter.  I could see the stinger, but given that it was on my right hand on my ring-finger, I couldn’t sort out a way to get it out.  And man, did it hurt!  My son-in-law kept me relax-breathing (lol) while my daughter headed over with her tweezers.  The sweat broke out on my forehead as I feared a reaction.  My finger was swelling as the minutes ticked by. I smile as I type this drama now, but it was all about the ‘new’ and the ‘unknown’ at the time.

Two doors down, my neighbour grabbed her tweezers and pulled the small-but-painful stinger out and I experienced immediate relief.  These neighbours have come to my aid more than once!  In fact, her husband once patiently talked me through the change of an oven element, so that I would always know how to make that repair myself.  Good friends, definitely!

When my daughter arrived, we sat and chatted about my first bee sting.  I expressed my gratitude to her and my son-in-law for their quick support and love.  I’d really enjoy reading your first bee sting story!  Please, do share!  I will never again shrug off someone’s account of their ‘clash’ with the insect world!