It’s Been This Kind of Day

I have to thank my new birder-friend, Bob, for his share of the story of Mrs. Shoveler on the Bird’s Calgary site, today.

I began writing on-line in 2005. In writing to an ‘imagined’ public, I discovered a public voice.  I learned to write about events that took place in my rather simple life in a way that could be explored and shared with any reader. There was a line that I refused to cross, a line that delved into the realm of the very personal.  I’ve enjoyed learning to narrate my life, while reigning in my voice to a degree.  In my head, I always remarked, “Only write what you feel anyone could read.”  I suppose the closest I ever came to crossing that line was at the loss of my mother.

I was in my father’s office, at the computer desk, the summer of her passing.  It was so bloody humid.  Dad tried to keep me from opening the windows because we had to have air conditioning or we were going to melt!  Whenever I would sit to write at the computer, I would secretly slide the window open to the right of me…in the night time, there was such stillness…not a breeze.  I remember writing this.

A lot of bloggers get weary of the process of writing after a while, but for some reason, I find the flow of evening-writing,  a wonderfully relaxing practice.  My initial story of Mrs. Shoveler and my effort to retrieve her from a small piece of open water achieved over 400 hits in an hour after publication.  I know.  I know.  I don’t really have a swollen head over this.  It’s not what the on-line crowd would call ‘going viral’, but, I was deeply touched that so many readers care about wildlife enough and in this case, a hen Northern Shoveler, that they would peruse the events that took place in the bitterly cold days of last December.  The follow-up story, involving the re-appearance of this dear bird, sent the numbers soaring yet again.

Well, today, with gratitude to Birds Calgary, more readers have visited and I’ve really enjoyed comments and messages and reactions.  So, readers, thank you for all of that.

This was my day…while Max and I played in snow and I met Abir again, after so long, and I made and enjoyed such a beautiful stew…while every thing was happening in my life, this is what was going on in the hum of the background.



Accolades and Blogging

I think I have two ‘readers’ of my blog…I mean, outside of my parents…my children.  I still wonder why I entered into this process to begin with.  I think I have a preoccupation with archiving anything and everything, and in some ways blogging put some boundaries on that and my piles and piles of albums and journals are shorter now.  But what will come of it all?  One really never knows.

Ironically, one of the two readers I mention, had previously nominated me for one of these blog awards and while I was touched and appreciated it so much, I felt overwhelmed with the criteria that I was to meet and still have the acceptance of the award in my ‘Draft’ file.  Today I’m going to attempt to write the acceptance speech of the century and demonstrate my sincere appreciation because this nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award comes from my second reader, John Clinock of the Art Rat Cafe.

He has my admiration for a few reasons. First, he writes thoughtful comments about my posts.  While it was never my intention to write for others here, sometimes it is so fulfilling to have a response to something I’ve thought about or something I’ve done.  There isn’t much in the way of validation for the individual sometimes (this is a strange comment to be making during the Olympics in London, but it seems there are so often opportunities for recognition in athleticism…I digress) and so, I wish to once again, express my gratitude for taking the time to ‘respond’.   Art is like breath for this blogger; it is both emotive and profound.  John’s paintings inspire. His writing syntax is poetic, sensitive; his content at times, light and humourous and at other times, heart-felt and heart-breaking.  I appreciate your nomination, John.  So, Thank you.

The Award guidelines are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
2. List 7 random things about yourself
3. Nominate fifteen other blogs
4. Notify the fifteen nominees
5. Put the award logo on your blog.

Seven Random things about me:

–       I have treasured my upbringing as the daughter of a military man and a determined and resourceful woman.

–       I was blessed with three children…and they have contributed the most to my own story…they are the shape of my life.  I love them.

–       I have had profoundly inspiring teachers.

–       I have completed the drive of the Trans Canada highway seven times in my life and last summer, for the first time, solo.

–       My first job was selling corn on the cob on a stick at the Great Falls, Montana State Fair.  I still remember the air, the buzz, the hot butter smell.

–       Laurie-dog and Max, my two border collies, have activated me as a person…they have contributed to my good health and to my forever-happiness.

–       If my children are the shape of my life, my faith is what gives that life dimension.  Outside of my faith, I would be lacking the contents of every open box…I would be a circle and not a sphere, a square and not a cube, a triangle and not a cone…strange, I know…but it is true.

This next required element will be the most difficult for me…it seems extensive…but, I am determined.  Next, I must nominate FIFTEEN bloggers for this same award and notify each.  Here goes.  I’m just thinking that these nominees may, like me, avoid the acceptance and required criteria for acceptance, but I’m nominating them regardless, just because the content of their blogs somehow reaches in to me.  I have limited time for writing posts and less time for reading posts by others…but these are the blogs that I explore on a regular basis.

1. Swords of Truth….Father Lavigne, the Assistant Pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish.  If you have opportunity to listen to any of his homilies on this blog, you will learn something, feel something and know something in your heart of hearts.  Thank you, Father Lavigne.

2. Kelcey Parker provides interviews with writers like this one and every time I read one of them, I am convinced that I can be a writer.  I think that this is a successful blog, when that sort of motivation can be inspired.  Thank you, Kelcey.

3. Allen Porter Mendenhall is someone who writes intelligently and gives me much to think about.  His genre, to over-simplify, would be a mushing together of literary review, examination of historical writing, philosophy and thought, and the power of opinion.  I wade through his words. Thank you, Allen Mendenhall.

4. I don’t receive a hard copy of the Calgary Herald at the door and I really enjoy Friday’s  Swerve Magazine.   I find the content informative and also often entertaining.  I think it shares with its readers a good cross section of what is going on in the city and what people are thinking about. I don’t know that this is considered a blog, but the posts read as such most times.  If you are local, you may want to subscribe…if you live in Vancouver, you may want to find a few reasons why Calgary rocks.  Thank you, Swerve Magazine.

5. (and a third of the way there) Ephemeral Gecko creates the most juicy collages in her sketchbook, daily!  I’ve followed her pages for quite some time just because they are beautiful.  She is great with archiving and has shared tips about dyes and dye processes on paper.  An excellent resource for anyone interested in incorporating text, layers, a variety of media.  Thank you, Ephemeral Gecko!

6. Beautiful Hello is simply-put, a beautiful, crisp and diverse blog.  Like my own blog, it wants to have a focus, but doesn’t.  Sometimes I wonder if this is a good or bad thing.  Evidenced by this blog, beauty is found in family, creation, effort, design and functionality.  There is a wide variety of material here.  I simply read it because it is BEAUTIFUL! HELLO!  Thank you, Emily Jeffords.

7.  Year-Struck is one of the excellent writers hanging about with WordPress.  I wonder sometimes why people like her are not featured on Freshly Pressed.  I’m actually beginning to notice that this is a category for fairly ‘new’ blogs…but I would like to see Year- Struck appear on their list one day just so that more people can read her work.  She uses humour and sentiment and reaches in to the core of ordinary people and experiences.   I have noticed that she is not accepting anymore awards like this one, but suffice it to say that I am likely only writing about my nominations, not necessarily informing them.  I think mayhaps that this is simply a way to link bloggers to bloggers and she and I will always be linked writer to writer.  Thank you for your support of my blog and for your exceptional writing, yearstricken.

8. I’ve dreamed to have enough knowledge that I could eek out an existence, even in the face of world calamity.  I bought all the Foxfire books while in university and sewed up moccasins from hide that I purchased in a corner store.  This makes me smile as I recollect my desire to live off the land at the time.  Now, I appreciate my bed and the convenience of the grocery store. A woman who is clearly able to plant, grow, harvest and create a wonderful life for her family is Throwback at Trapper Creek.  I enjoy my time reading about her various challenges living off the land.  Thank you, Matron of Husbandry.

9. An Afternoon With is one of the most aesthetically pleasing blogs that I spend time viewing routinely…’viewing’ being the operative word.  Photographer,  Michael Mundy enters into spaces and captures them at their essence.  Brilliant and thought-provoking work!  This is a blog I will likely always remain connected with because each time I connect, I feel as though I have been invited to step inside a space that is not my own and explore it…these spaces ARE portraits.  To see what I’m talking about, spend an afternoon with Belinda and let me know what you think. Thank you, Michael.

At this point, I’m saving this draft…I hope that it resurfaces at some point and that I complete my list of fifteen nominees.

Tuesday: Painting the Resurrection Tree

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Last Tuesday, I got as far as  Saint Juan Diego on my list of Roman Catholic Saints.  According to the traditional account, the original image of Our lady of Guadalupe miraculously appeared on the cloak of Juan Diego, on the hill of Tepeyac near Mexico City on December 12, 1531.  Apparently there are over 10,000 Roman Catholic Saints and a longer list for the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Communions.  I have successfully written 510 saint’s names on the painting, The Resurrection Tree.

510 Saints


The final Saint’s name was Zygmunt Gorazdowski.  I found a brief write-up on this blog and really have enjoyed reading some articles on The Black Cordelias’ wordpress as they share a many-faceted perspective on the Catholic Religion, along with good humour and extensive research.  God really DOES have to have a sense of humour!  I know that on the wall there are three spelling errors and also the incorporation of three Eastern Orthodox Saints…I dare anyone to find these! :0)

What Happens When My World Shrinks

I’ve been taking lots of photographs lately…my readers know that I’ve been using the pinhole setting on my digital camera even though it pains me when I see other photographers using this devise again and again.  I don’t really know if I have readers…let’s start there…but, I use that reference loosely in the case that someone is following my summer’s journey.

I am a reader.  I read blogs.  (I did finish Richler’s book two nights ago, by the way, so I do read other things as well!) The point being, YOU can include me in YOUR readership.  And, you writers and photographers of WordPress,  you are a big part of my shrinking world!  When I look at your photographs, I see mountains I might have at one time, dreamed to climb.  I see castles and pristine water reflecting setting sunlight on a Scottish moor.  I read about cancer survivors,  art, music, good books listed in all manner of category and I read your struggles with all sorts of things.  For the most part, you are a positive bunch…in fact, I view my own blog as something pretty positive, if not a tad sentimental.  However, behind every person’s story, I get the sense that you, like me, are getting through the day-to-day as well.  You are, at times, looking through your own pinhole camera, at the life that your readers do not see.

I continue to think that one of the most potent blogs that I have connected with here, (‘here’ being a term that speaks of this wee computer desk in my parents’ upstairs- apartment in Ontario…a fan going…the girls sleeping on the pull-out couch just around the corner.  Mom and Dad sleeping soundly in another room) is this one.  Reading the entry, Confronting the Demons of Ethnocentrism this morning, caused that sense of a gigantic world being out there…but, somewhat out of reach.  I see my world getting smaller…and I have to explain why, in some ways, this is a good thing.

Alzheimers is a very frightening disease.  (I just whispered that sentence…)  As a way of giving respect to family and friends who are coping with Alzheimers or other forms of Dementia, as they see the disease revealed through their loved ones,  I hesitate to be the person to write about it. I hesitate to put the words down. I think that’s why I’ve been taking photographs…and through my particular lens.  Having a family member daily-encountering the lost moments and the courageous struggles…noticing the care and love extended by selfless family and friends…all of this causes me to want to grab at my life and hold her close to me.

Now and then I am going to write about Alzheimers as a disease that is pouring itself over much of a single generation and leaving a huge impact on yet another.  I am writing, if I may try, from the point of view of the ‘collective’.

When I closed the book, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz the other night, I felt as though I had been visiting another place and time, the Jewish ghetto of Montreal.  I was immersed in a culture for three nights of reading…one that I had known little about previously.  I had a sense of a much larger world and then woke in the morning to step out onto the sidewalks of Bridge Street; exploring the light, experiencing the humidity and finding a large place in a close-up sort of way.  Do you understand?  In some ways, I feel like Alice.

As I capture moments with my camera this summer, it is my hope that I will be able to archive a giant world within a giant world.  These and other matters remain on my mind and in my heart; Somalia’s famine…another earthquake in Japan, Oslo, a huge island of ice flowing toward Labrador, forest fires raging…mountain climbers and whale-watchers, husbands and wives and the evening news stories, sanitizing hands, shipping food, elections and the state of the U.S. economy, industry, finance, huge booming thunder storms…all of it life…struggle, wonder, awe.

And…at the very same time, my mornings on Bridge Street!  I will try to stop time and really see light.  I will make certain that I hold my daughters’ hands…my sister’s hands, her children’s hands…I will hold my mother’s hands.

Teaching and Learning

A Grade 7's Introductory Response to Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

I would have to say that I am in some trouble.  I’ve been bitten by the blog bug!  I know that if you are reading, you can tell.  It seems from where you are sitting that mayhaps I spend hours doing this…no, it comes in brief fits of interest, intrigue and avoidance.  You see, I’ve really been here all weekend, working…creating things, learning how to use particular programs on the computer, familiarizing with Desire 2 Learn, making invitations, marking…you can’t tell that, can you?  But, at the same time, I begin to notice the massive list of things that interest me! (Cartography interests me…especially beautiful maps!) In an earlier day, we would say that the list of things that interest or intrigue me is as long as my arm…but likely, given our exponential shifting every moment, it is definitely longer!

It started with this morning’s coffee.  I came down to check my work e mail to see if there were any surprises waiting for me.  I happened upon a WordPress blog, as I was signing out.  I believe they call the location, Freshly Pressed Blogs.  Oh sheesh…and this was as I was logging out! 

I immediately responded to a beautiful blog that I saw there and ended up at the associated website of Jacob Murphy, photographer.  If you will go to this website and please look at the video that is contained there, I’m certain that you will appreciate it as much as I do!  I was especially touched by the video content because I was on my way to teach in our beautiful school.  I could not help but think about all of the advantages our students have and just how blessed we are as educators!  I felt so positive and full of gratitude as I headed out this morning.  Thank you for your photographs, Jacob Murphy.

Student Response to Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Backyard Garden Weary, But, I DUG IT!

Ok….well, I’ve been on a bit of a blitz here and just realize that the backyard garden is so abundant (and then there is the front!), I am just going to have leave my insights for now!  I actually have to go and dig around a little and when I’m finished that, I need to dig into the laundry, the marking and all else that needs to be dug!  It was fun today, to receive a ‘like’ on my wordpress, a ‘comment’ and a ‘subscription’….so I would want to acknowledge the person who made all three things happen.  Ta DUH! PROFUSEMOOSE, thank you!  Now, I just need to figure out how to link to your blog.  I found you for a moment and now, you’re gone!  But, everything you said, was WORTH SAYING!

Beginning Again

Here's Lookin' At You!

It was difficult to begin all over again!  I was sad when I was dragged over from Windows Live Spaces after years of blogging and was dropped into a foreign land, WordPress.  Nothing on this page looks familiar.  I’ve been avoiding writing as a result.  I have no one who reads my words anymore…so, I ask myself, “Why begin again?”  Dunno.  I hope that over time this place will feel like home.  I know that I have some ‘cleaning house’ to do here because things just ARE NOT the same! Welcome to my new home.  I hope we get to know one another!