Uh Oh: Bird Tales From the Vent

Just recently, I’ve been publicly shamed on social media for asking for photo credit and explaining my distaste for the blast of photographs being published on line of members of the public, hoarding or standing in long lines in store environments. Just my opinion, but these photographs fall into the same category as Wal-Mart shopper photos, babies having temper tantrum photos and Fat Lady photos. I just don’t get what the purpose is? Oh…I received the explanation that publishing the photo of a profiteer who was bragging about the resale potential of a cart load of thermometers had shifted the behaviour of the big box stores and convinced them to limit sales. (all myth and absolutely no idea WHO the person was and what the product was and what the motivation was) Bull Winkle Twinkle Fairy Dust! Are you kidding? Social media photographs do not convince companies such as Home Depot to change their policies? And as a follow-up, it’s interesting that Reddit has deleted the photograph, while the legacy of hateful comments remain spouting off about Capitalism and such. Haters need to hate.

I digress. Because I spoke out about the negativity of such content being shared over and over again in formats such as Reddit and Facebook, I was labeled a lunatic who takes pictures of baby deer and eagles and was reminded that I am dumber than door nails. Too bad. I look at the fact that this person didn’t read or take in my concerns or my views on this subject. He only saw his own perspective and then BLACK OUT….the thread disappeared and the big BLOCK happened. Wow! UH OH!!! I’m telling my readers, we are living in very troubled times. Kindness is required.

And…back to the ‘baby deer and eagle photos’. It is my choice to try to retain a positive expression of social media. If I get so rattled, in real time, about something political or what I view to be a social injustice, I might post, but you will notice those discussions/threads disappear off of my social media within days. I think that what the world needs at the best and the worst of times is positivity, enlightenment and gratitude. If readers/posters want to be miserable all of the time, it’s their prerogative. There is room in the world for all of us. Just don’t block me, shut me down, silence me when I wish to share an opinion along the way.

Check out ethical practice when it comes to posting photos, specifically to shame others.

On the subject of this post…another big UH OH! Some of you have followed Tales from the Vent over the past seven years. At my kitchen sink and window, I find myself in close proximity to my neighbour’s vent. Over the years, this has typically provided a nesting site for House Sparrows, but the past few years, there have been nest wars between Northern Flickers and House Sparrows. Well, look here, what was spotted this morning at the vent. OH NO! Pigeon poop potential! It’s going to be interesting to see what happens this season. I’ll keep you up to date!

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.

But…today…

I woke to a note on my kitchen counter.

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

❤ 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!

wendy-and-koac

 

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!

p1070182

 

Organic Shapes: Grade Three

Yes!  Grade threes spoke to me about organic shapes.  Will they remember tomorrow?  I don’t know.  But, for today, they really did delve into the concept.

“Organic shapes are associated with things from the natural world, like plants and animals. The circles and squares that make up this sculpture are geometric shapes.”

There was paint left over from yesterday…black and white.  I grabbed bright red paper to use as a ground for today’s paintings.

Last evening, my son James came over to the house after work and created a huge bowl of Hummus, using my friend Carla’s recipe.  After we had our sit down dinner and the dishes were done, I headed out to drive James home.  While we journeyed I asked him what he thought would make a great subject for great three Halloween paintings…witches, cats or bats?  His suggestion was ghosts.  He rated, by difficulty, the four subjects and in the end, I agreed.  4. Witches 3. Cats 2. Bats 1. Ghosts  Ghosts would allow for creative interpretation, free flow, but would help me teach some basic design concepts and techniques.

I knew that I wanted to accomplish some successful design pieces in a very short time, so the focus could not be so much on Reflection and Depiction, but on Composition and Expression.

The class was so intensely involved in the art making that I had to stare in disbelief as it seemed I was in a bee hive.  Every student was geared up to accomplish wonderful things and the engagement was other-worldly.  It was silent.  I felt so happy.

I have a couple of suggestions if my readers were to, at any point, paint ghosts with kids.  First of all, have my readers ever had their mother dress them up in a bed sheet as a ghost at any point, for the purpose of trick-o’-treating?  Two eyes cut out.  No mouth…no nose. It’s tricky to get around!  I told the kids the story at the beginning of my lesson and they laughed an laughed.  I shared about how hot it was in the inside of the sheet as I breathed in and out, in and out. I told them about tripping as my feet stepped onto the front of the sheet.  I explained about the pillow case I was carrying, being difficult to access to collect candy at my neighbour’s doors.  I could tell by their faces that they could relate.

I drew a symbol for an octopus on the white board.  We thought about how the shape of a ghost symbol would be different.  I had them try to picture the sheet over my head.  Could they tell where the head was?  How?  What shape would it be?  The shoulders?  and then….why would the bottom of the ghost be so organic?  We talked about Casper the friendly ghost and the fact that he had legs and arms like we do.

Other words for ghosts that came up…spirits and specter.

Parameters for the composition.  Include at least seven ghost-like organic shapes.  At least three of these need to go off of an edge.  Try to include three larger ghost-forms and the rest, smaller.

I demonstrated how to use a paper towel as a place mat…sliding it along to the place where paint would be applied to an edge.  I showed them the difference between painting over an edge and painting up to an edge.

Given a small piece of chalk, the students moved into their composing.  I really didn’t want to impose too many restrictions on how they handled their darkness, only saying that I would like to see repeating lines and that the black outline around each specter should not touch the white shrouds.  Off to the races!

For the purpose of painting with tempera paints, always have a box of white chalk handy.  It takes all of the ‘preciousness’ of drawing away and becomes very free-flowing, with opportunities to change minds several times.

img_20161026_103427img_20161026_103439img_20161026_103453img_20161026_103504img_20161026_103728img_20161026_103419

Starting with the dark if the artist finds that all of the buckets of white are gone…

img_20161026_103259

Second colour…

img_20161026_113236img_20161026_111624img_20161026_111510img_20161026_111459img_20161026_111442

After drying…those little ghost faces were added with sharpies.  No noses required.  I enjoyed the creative solutions to the dark.  A beautiful morning!  Deb, thank you for your class!

img_20161026_122128img_20161026_122009

Something amazing happened.  As I stepped into the staff room, at the end of the morning, I learned that employees of UPS were visiting the school and making rounds at other schools, serving special coffees and cupcakes, in order to let educators in the community know how much their work is appreciated.  A heart felt message was delivered during the lunch break that left teachers feeling affirmed and happy.  It was a lovely gesture and a great end to my morning guest teaching.  I had a white chocolate latte.  YUM!

Thank you, UPS!

img_20161026_130742img_20161026_130755

Drives to Appointments

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

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

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

DSC_1100

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.

Whoever said…

“Social media is our ruination.”

Think again.

I was blessed some time ago to receive a private message from a student who is now grown up and wears a beard…someone who has lived some life.  I hadn’t heard a word from him for years, but these words, like magic, appeared.  If these were the last words I was to read on this earth, I would be blessed enough.  But, it seems that again and again, I am graced by these experiences.  And it is, I’m certain, because I live in a time when the words can be communicated.  I know how grateful I remain, as a 59 year old woman, for my teachers.

This is what he said…

“Ms. Moors, I wanted to send you a message saying thank you for all of the lessons and knowledge that you passed on to me. I started classes in Lethbridge this fall and I still use the “outline” for essays and papers that you taught me in grade 9. That has helped me so much and I can only imagine that it will continue to assist me throughout my life. You also facilitated a love of reading in me and I can not express my appreciation to you for that. I hope all is well with you and that you are healthy and happy. Thank you again for everything.”

DSC_1531

The Barr Brothers: Even the Darkness Has Arms

I was holding my breath

When the tightrope walker slipped into the moon glow
Saying all my children, follow me
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO GO

You can be cruel when you’re wise
You can be wise when you’re blue
And baby, if I have
Then I have for you

Bribing the jury to keep me in jail
Singing tea for the tiller man
And although I lie fantastically
This woman knows of my history
IT’S A MIRACLE I CAN SEE

You can be wrong when you’re right
Even when you’re right on cue
And if I die tonight
Then I die for you

All I know is they call me son
Great grandson and grandson
Great uncles and some relatives
That judge what I have done

Gonna make it right by you
Even if it’s all I do
And if it’s all I do
Then I do it for you

People have raised a whole lotta hell
About the water in the windmill
And although I stab chaotically
IT HURTS NO ONE BUT ME

EVEN THE DARKNESS HAS ARMS
But they ain’t got you
And baby, I have it
And I have you, too

 

 

May 8, 2014

I’ve looked forward to every birthday…feeling so blessed for every year, even when those years weren’t so easy.  I am just so filled with gratitude for the mix of experiences.  God has woven his heart in and out of mine and I have never felt alone.  Yesterday was a beautiful day.  The sunshine was lighting up a brilliant blue sky.  I got up early to a birthday phone call from my friend Bob on the west coast and then many messages of love throughout the day.  Happy birthday…sung with my Dad on morning Skype…and later, Bonne Fete sung by my Fiset family in Ottawa over the phone.

Breakfast was shared with Kate at Cora’s…always eggs benedict, coffee and great conversation.

P1160470 P1160472My first crocus of spring on the ridge above the city…exercise, deep breath, time with my pooch.

P1160474 P1160477 P1160478 P1160485New old E.O Brody Co. Cleveland OH short vase for $2.00 at the Women in Need shop.  I didn’t have this one.

BrodyConversation with a neighbour-friend about shrubs that grow well on the north side of houses.  A wander around a green house, after a long bitterly cold winter…enjoying the smells and sights of so much green!

Dragon Pearl dinner with my children and so grateful that everyone could make it.

Dragon PearlFloral arrangement brought over to my home by another neighbour…gift from Dad for my special day.  Conversation about flowers and flower beds as we stood out in the warm evening air.

P1160486Happy birthday cupcake delivered by my daughter as I read over Facebook birthday messages…again, we sang Happy Birthday!  May 8, 2014 was quite a day!

P1160502

 

 

Still Going Back to Move Forward: The Chit Chat Cafe of Napanee

I am still trying to complete my blog posts around my months shared with Dad in Belleville, Ontario.  Sometimes the present really must squash out the past…but at other times, the past needs to be integrated into what we have in this moment.  I treasured my time with my father above any other time we have shared and I never wish to forget the fragile and strong of that couple of months.  Through my father, I met so many lovely people, people like Andy and Sherry of the Chit Chat Cafe & Corner Market.  This afternoon, I updated a Blog that Sherry and I set up for her business and linked it to a Facebook site, so I think their social media is about as current as it can be.

For years, Mom and Dad drove out to Napanee, Ontario; sometimes after church for a piece of dessert or sometimes on a weekend for a Dinner Buffet and Live Music concert.  Most important to me and my family was the kindness that these two folk showed my parents, especially through these last couple of very difficult years.  Always having time for kindness and cheerfulness, these two have a way of making others feel special and then feeding them the very best of food.

During this journey of grief, some Sundays Dad and I left the parking lot after church and turned north east to Napanee…and somehow the coffee, the good people and the eggs benedict managed to do some comforting.

The best eggs benny I've ever eaten.

The best eggs benny I’ve ever eaten.

The second dinner concert I attended, with Dad, was a performance by Jay Aymar.  A fantastic story teller and an authentic song writer, Jay left us with lots to think about.  Music is a big part of our family, so music coupled with good food is an especially  magical combination.  Jay Aymar’s blog, Road Stories, is very entertaining for the real-life experiences he shares.

Sherry's Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Sherry’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Lemon Poppy Cake

Lemon Poppy Cake

A First Serving

A First Serving

P1110855 P1110859 P1110860 P1110881 P1110903http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4mhhgk8Avg

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!

Haiti, Japan and Slave Lake, Alberta…Great Falls, Montana…Manitoba

What happens to these places?  I’ve only named a few. 

The world seems to be in an upheaval…churning up all sorts of natural disasters!  The newspapers and television…the internet…spew out so many stories when the crises have occurred.  For days, the public reacts in shock with the bulletins of lost lives, lost property and hardship.  Money is funneled into accounts and then days later, the stories are abandoned for new stories.  It is my hope, by writing, that I might cause my readers to think about affirmative action in regards to any one of these situations.

Tonight, Tom Jackson is hosting a CBC performance out of Edmonton, an effort to raise funds for those who have lost their homes and belongings in Slave Lake.  In a moment, their lives were changed by a wild fire!  As I write, I can not help but send out gratitude to the universe that my children and I are safe and in good health!

It is a well-known fact that radiation continues to pour into the water surrounding the shores of Japan.   Similar to the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, distance gives us the chance to put out of our minds, the people who have been ruined economically, and the animals, out of view, that are silently dying under the surface. 

Oh, my.  I may come off as being a ‘bleeding-heart’ here…or mayhaps, negative and defeated, but IN FACT, I do know this to be true.  Humanity is full of kindness.  Human beings reach out to those in need.  I like to believe that we will take care of one another.  As the planet is stretched to its limit, I want to believe that we will step up and forward, for one another! 

It's a Beautiful World! Emigrant Pass

Post Script:  This is well-put…and a view that is important to think about!  !  Apart from your content (and I will be visiting and reading much more), I have to comment on the fact that you are a superb writer!  Thank you for your candor!