Sketchbook

Part of what I noticed I let lapse over the years of not drawing on a regular basis is my weakened observation skills. I used to spend a lot of time looking at things. I would notice tiny details like the curve of someones lip, or the shape of a hand, the light as it fell across a room. I used to be able to remember scenes, notice certain details and later make a drawing based from that scene. Not implying I drew from a photographic memory of something I saw, but using elements and pertinent details that caught my attention and then make something out of it. Because I was paying attention, I was noticing things, images were saying something to me. Over time, I seemed to have not been so observant. Well, maybe my focus had simply moved.

I pursued a culinary career which requires hard work, working fast, and long hours, product driven, and  rush-rush -rush; I recognize that I’ve been rushing around and overly occupied for so many years in contrast to how I once was when I was an art student. Of course there was only me to think about then. Job and family, there is no sitting and looking long at anything except the back of your eyelids after a long day.

The human figure has always been my favourite subject, challenging with its shape and line. As an exercise I did some quick pen sketches of some of the News guys the other night. Because their images flicked back and forth and their positions changed quickly I had to be quick. Good practice to train my eye hand coordination, and observation skills.

 

It’s a Start

So, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve bought artist paints. Too long to contemplate. I went to my universities Book Store to gather materials, they carry limited art supplies and I get 30% discount. Even still I was taken aback at the price of paints. Funny, I never gave it much thought when I was a devil-may-care art student at this very same university forty-two years ago. Fortytwo years ago?! WTF.

Okay, I’m breathing again.

I’m starting small with a few tubes, picking up some new brushes too. But back to purchasing artist’s materials. The price. I realized, as I returned my visa card to my wallet after ringing it through, that I have difficulty reasoning the purchase. Even with a 30% discount. In the past I have done large graphite drawings for the real reason that I was seriously deficient in funds while a single mom. Graphite and paper is not cost prohibitive. A small tube of Cadmium Red can certainly be. Notice here I’ve bought Red, Yellow and Blue. The primary colours that will blend into a range of colours. My effort at cost effectiveness. Why?

Because my inner monkey- you know, the over critical monkey nattering in your brain that causes you to second guess your motives and efforts? Well, this monkey leans into my thoughts and whispers, ‘You’re spending money on something you haven’t practiced in eons’, those “paintings” better be really good to justify the spending’, and, ‘Are you sure about this? These will just sit in the basement never opened, you’re just kidding yourself and wasting money.’ 

This is part of creative recovery. I have to be patient with myself. I’ve been away too long, it takes time to reacquaint with that atrophied part of myself. I wish it was more like a long lost friend where we just pick up where we left off like no time had passed between us. But it isn’t.

I have an innate compulsion to be timid when what I need is to practice opening up and suspend inhibitions and get painting, paint anything, on paper, canvas or board. To dare to suck at it for a while without self-chastisement, without feeling the need to justify my doing this.

And what I need to be doing is practice pulling zero punches on the monkey. Boom, Boom. Hoping it stays down for the count.

Performance Anxiety

What is that anyway? I love to sing, and I actually can sing, but just don’t plunk me in front of anyone, thank you very much. I have been working on this annoying shortcoming, really I have. And I have “gigged” before. I was in a rock band in my twenties- believe me I wasn’t cut out for that lifestyle, and I’ve even done a smidge of musical theatre-way, way back in time- and I did enjoy it, but at the same time it was near torture. And this is where I get odd. I know I would really, really love it- I want to love it! In my mind I see myself loving it, I would love to be able to love performing. Others who do it look like they’re having a lot of fun!

And there have been many casual musical alliances I have been involved in over the years, but as soon as they say, ‘Hey we should get a gig’, mentally I start backing towards a door that I’m hoping is open behind me. I close down and leave my body when a roomful of eyes are looking at me. Including public speaking, but strangly not as fearful as singing. What?

I was asked just recently to sing with a local band here for our open mic. Nope.

It’s as if the universe keeps handing me opportunities to have the chance to get over myself, to take another stab at it, and I just keep on being awkward and dorky, turn spineless, and buckle under this misaligned anxiety.

How about breaking in gently by performing for friends and family?  “Oh look so and so has a guitar right here- sing us a song!”

Nope. Worse. In fact, strangers are easier to approach in this case. But still, only slightly so.

Help, I’m trapped in a paradox. How can someone want to do something that is torture? It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

Well, okay thank you for your time, if anyone is reading, I’ll keep trying. The universe, doing what it always does, will probably still keep tossing musical opportunities my way to see if I’ll bite. It’s a hurdle- more of a pole vault, I just need to find the right pole. Or something.

Tra-la-la.

 

 

 

Boom, There It Is

Do you ever notice when you may have thought about something ( or even someone)  and then didn’t give that thought another thought, only to then, a short time later, have “that thought” appear in the physical form there waiting for you? The kind of occurrence the makes you say out loud to a perfect stranger, “Hey, what’d know, I was wanting/wishing/needing this ‘thing’  and there it is!”

That’s synchronistic action at work. I know, eye roll, law of attraction. Yeah, read that book and others of the same ilk, and while everyone did become a little over saturated with all of this business of believing: ‘if you think it, it will come to you’, like magic, I too was one of the over saturated ones. But honestly, I have always subscribed to that belief, even before the books came out.

I just so happen to have a recent example of this. I have set up an art studio downstairs in my basement. And while the space is pretty great, I had an issue. I was wondering where I would be able to keep all my canvases but, more importantly, where to store all my finished drawings and fresh sheets of drawing paper.

What I really needed was a cabinet with a set of drawers wide enough and deep enough to house the sheets of paper and finished drawings. I thought about where I could find something like that, or if I’d have to build it. They do make these types of cabinets for studios, but it would be cost prohibitive for me. Then I put the thought aside, being not sure what to do about it.

A short while later, Bob and I were taking a walk around the island neighbourhood. In front of one house sat a four foot long, four drawer antique dresser, in a little rough shape, and set out for any takers. I inspected it and said, this will work in the studio. I arranged with my next door neighbour Jay to have it picked up and brought to my house, soon he showed up with it and he and Bob carried into the basement, and I placed the new sheets of paper in the drawer. Perfect.

A little thing?  Maybe. But the fact is clear; a need, an intention, a desire was met and handed to me. Size of the gift doesn’t matter. The act, the manifestation does. And so does the acknowledgment of gratitude.

Yeah, What She Said

“I have to measure my success by the fact that I did something I didn’t think I could do—I knew I could, but I didn’t know if I would. So just the fact that I made it, (the album) and gave myself permission to just fuck it up and do some stuff that’s maybe stupid and not cool, is pretty successful. Being a creative person, that’s the most successful thing.”

Brittany Howard- Singer, Songwriter, talking about her new solo venture and new album apart from her band Alabama Shakes

 

I love this. I love Brittany too, but that’s beside the point.  I came across this interview on line by coincidence ( is there such a thing? ) just last week. Hmmm, just as I begin my creative recovery journey, how apropos. Yes, I think so.

New Look

I’ve made some changes to my Blog- it was time. I feel recovering the creative life, my creative life, is a primary focus now, and felt my blog should reflect that. Art, Photography, Music, Writing, anything and everything that feeds the creative process in living a more richly textured life.

I’ll see where it leads. Kind of excited about it.

My New Morning Practice to Nurture Creativity

I have an amendment to my previous post. I, in fact, have been very good at getting up each morning and doing a work out, (and changing my clothes twice in the morning) and, more importantly, another thing I have added to the start of my day is Morning Pages. I picked up Julia Camerons book The Artist’s Way, the book that introduced Morning Pages as a daily practice, and having recently searched it out at my local used book store, I have begun working through it.

I’ve been familiar with Morning Pages for some time; The Artist’s Way workbook has been out since 1992, but I never took a look at it-for whatever reason. Too busy with the mechanics of married life, working, etc. It’s now I felt I could benefit from this book in helping with not only my writing, but to facilitate an overall reconnection to my creative yearnings after suppressing them so long.

Beginning with the first week of Tasks in the workbook, I discovered it is exactly what I needed at the right time. I much prefer starting my day with this, rather than a work-out. Doing the Pages and working through the workbook provides an avenue for beginning my day in a creative flow, sets the right tone that creativity comes first, ideas come first, insights come first. Mind before body.

I have always “journaled,” since the age of fourteen, but doing it as a Morning Pages practice feels different. There is a type of intention in it. So each morning I rise early , 6 am or so, and the first thing I do- pour a cup of coffee and set down to write three 8″x11″ pages of stream of consciousness writing. Then my work-out, shower, then breakfast at 9:30 or 10.

I think this is what I’ve been struggling with. Reading over what I’ve written in that previous post, I now realize that the “domestic” work needn’t dominate the day- those tasks will always be there to do, never changing in their nature. So do them when time allows, but the creative work is the priority because it has the of risk slipping away from us if not well nurtured and attended to. It has something of a “shelf Life.”

I’ve only just now begun Week Two of the twelve-week workbook, so it’s all still a new endeavour. So far I look forward to the Pages each morning and have even noticed some humble synchronicities and serendipitous effects since beginning the workbook. Of course these serendipitous episodes may have always been happening, perhaps I wasn’t “tuned in” enough before to notice. I think probably.

I’m curious to experience any shifts in insight over these next weeks, and so far, with Week One down, it’s feeling beneficial in general.

Scheduling my time is still in process, but I think instead of the word Scheduling I will use Committing.  Things are falling into place ~

 

 

How to time manage a creative life

I’m not a great candidate for strict routine or habits. Which could be a character deficit when faced with the many things I want to accomplish each week. I prefer to follow “leanings.” Left to my own devices and left alone in general, I usually allow an activity or project to find me. Like, when I had accidentally discovered a fascinating effect on my laptop Photo Booth app one night. (while alone, so left to my own devices as I said). I had stumbled upon an exciting photography tool that could be so creatively employed for artistic expression, was so excited by it and engaged this app so rigorously I wore it out. It no longer does what it was doing before. I may have to buy a new laptop. I did gather a sizeable portfolio to work with though, but that app is toast.

I have much that bids for my attention. Painting, drawing, making something in clay, writing, practicing music, editing photographs, practicing Spanish, yoga, reading, or making/baking food to contribute to my sorely neglected food blog. And I’m married. And he is also retired, and now home, all. the. time. I need to acknowledge my spouse every so often, and feed him. (this isn’t a feminist issue, I’m a better cook, although he makes a fantastic curry chicken.) I can’t just bury myself away in my rainbow room of creative projects and ignore him hours and hours at a time.

Then there’s the house. This morning I was making a batch of apple chutney, and looking up into the stove’s hood vent, and noticing the thin layer of grease inside the hood, thus discovered where all the fruit flies that came in with my backyard grapes disappeared to. None fell into the chutney in case you’re wondering.

There is work to do in the yard like rebuilding that dilapidated back garden gate, and gathering material for making raised vegetable beds, cleaning and organizing the shed, taking stuff to the recycling centre. All the domestic stuff that, you know, those without hired housekeepers or hired gardeners have to attend. There are the sojourns by boat to town to shop for groceries.

The drama.

By rights any clear thinking organized person would in fact set up a type of schedule; to ensure especially that time is devoted to creative work. To prioritize. And I have tried that, starting with the mundane: a morning work out. I get as far as every morning I will rise and do my 25 minute weight work out before breakfast. And I will, for a couple of weeks. I acknowledge to myself how good I feel doing this, how energized my body feels and prepares me for the day. Then, one morning I’ll get up and think that I don’t particularly like changing my clothes twice in the morning.

Because, of course, I wear “work out” clothes to work out in, then after a shower, I have to dress all over again. Some mornings I wake up and think, I just want to get dressed in the clothes I’m going to wear for the day and go downstairs and start my day with a project, right off. No sweating first thing in the  morning. But the fact remains that I need the work-out and I do feel so much better physically in doing it. Starting my day with the work-out I feel helps me begin my day with some vigour at least. I know, the stupid preoccupations of a retired person. And it’s not like I don’t have time to change my clothes twice in the morning.

Then I’m stymied by wondering if I should work outside first, while there is daylight, then spend afternoons and evenings with inside projects. But, by the afternoon and working outside I am too physically tired to think in creative terms-like ok, now I’ll go downstairs to my studio and work up a painting, or get on the wheel and throw a mug. Before having to prep and cook dinner. Ugh, I know this  is such self indulgent mental pre-school!

I think now that I have that freedom to do the work I want to do, rather than the stuff I have to do that once required a schedule, ie: going to my job in town each morning, gives the illusion I no longer need to follow a schedule. But it’s increasingly apparent I do still need to have something, the very least a quasi-firm guideline, some form of time management.

 

 

 

It’s alive! My sourdough starter that is.

I had been away all summer, so when I checked my starter in the fridge when I got home, and poked into the gooey mass, I could see there were still some bubbles in there. Then I  gave it a feeding. And hooray it’s vigorous ! The elastic band indicates how much it inflated with its first refresh. Amazes me still, this “critter” that lives and breathes. Like a pet. A gooey pet.

Not big news, I know, but it made me happy. Anyone else have a sourdough to maintain?

The approach of Autumn

To be honest,  Fall is one of my favourite seasons. I was born and lived in California till I was 14 years old before moving to Vancouver Island with my folks, epochs ago. In California the days were, and I venture to assume are still, warm with regularly clear skies for most of the year. If you wanted to see snow you went to Big Bear or Lake Tahoe. I lived in Huntington Beach.

The trees on our streets never dropped a leaf. If it did the tree was probably dying. And flowers seem to continually bloom. The rare occurrence when rain fell in southern California, and after the skies cleared, I would only then notice clean, clear air. The smog would be rinsed from the skyline for a short while. I could see the details on Saddleback, the highest mountain peaks in the Santa Ana Mountain range. Better still, sometimes I could even see the crown of Mount Shasta poking up on the horizon from Northern California.

When I moved to Vancouver Island in the summer of 1973 I was completely blissed out when my first autumn came and the leaves changed colour and let loose on the wind, carpeting the roads and yards. The smell of autumn was a new thing for me. Rich and voluptuous, and layered. Cool fresh mornings and burnished evenings, blustery days with gusting winds. Love it.

And as autumn deepens in to November and December I’m loving it still.  If there is a snowfall in the mix, then I’m excited and invigorated by it. Even when I had to commute to work by boat, then car. Snow fall here is a novel happening. It might only last a week or two, so even a die hard from Ontario has no grounds for complaint. But sometimes they still do. I’m naming no one. Bob.

January is another story.

Although I just got home not long ago from a busy summer, in another week I will be making one more drive back to Salmon Arm to get together with family for Thanksgiving and to celebrate my granddaughter Saylor’s second birthday. Then life will come down to a simmer when I get back. Well, I would say rather, life will turn inward. For me, I have writing I want to – need to do, and also get to work on some painting in the studio I have yet to fully engage in. It sits downstairs waiting.

Autumn is the perfect time for these kinds of things.

 

 

 

Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig.

Finally home from the drive back east visiting relatives in Georgian Bay, Ontario, and then my month long stay with my daughter and her new baby in Salmon Arm.

We left home July 19th and it’s good to be back to my little island rock in the Nanaimo harbour. But, in true island fashion/frustration, there was a hitch getting here.

It was 9:00 pm when Bob and I got off the B.C Ferry from Vancouver, and its monsoonal rainfall. We got  to the marina where we dock our boat and unloaded all our gear from the car down the dock ramp and into our boat, then drove the car over to our parkade a block away, walked back to the boat, jumped in and Bob turned the key to start the 50 hp outboard- and nothing happened.

Dead battery. Probably caused by the bilge pump sticking and not turning off after it had pumped all the water out that had collected in the boat during our time away.  Bob let out some pretty (in)decent expletives as I check the time and said it’s 9:55, the Dinghy Dock Ferry to the island (and home) is at 10:10.

We have to make that boat. Bob swore some more. So a mad dash back to the parkade, retrieve the car, drive back to the boat basin, reload our bags into the car, drive back to the parkade to re-park the car, and hustle down to the ferry landing.

We made it. And once on the island, and relief set in, the tranquil 20 minute walk to our house from the little ferry was a pleasant homecoming.

Yesterday Bob took the Dinghy Dock Ferry back to town, dropped our dead battery off at the battery shop to recharge. Today, both of us taking the little ferry, we picked up the now charged battery and put it in our boat, along with all our luggage from the car, and the three bags of groceries we bought. Now everything is home!

What’s missing in my feature photo is what we couldn’t carry ourselves and had left at the dock head. A bag of potatoes, two coolers, a big bag containing my coats, and another containing two pillows. Bob was off with our wheelbarrow retrieving them.

We are still thinking of getting a small truck for over here. But then where’s the strain and exercise with that?

So goes island life. It’s not without its worthy efforts!

 

Ready for Baby

While staying at Zana and Dons these past several weeks, spending time with Saylor, soon to be two, and newborn Opal, it brings up memories of having my baby at 22, and a conversation I had with a girlfriend. Her son had just had his first baby six months after Zana had her first, and as we sat talking she said in reference to her son and daughter-in-law, “I don’t know if they’re ready.”

I reminded her then that our kids are 37. If they are having babies, now’s the time. And I couldn’t help but laugh at her worry, because if anyone wasn’t ready to have babies it was us!

When I became a mother I was unprepared in every way. I knew nothing about babies. I spent one night in hospital after her delivery and then went back to my parents house where my partner, Zana’s father Dennis, and I were staying until he finished fixing up our rented home; a tiny two room miners cabin with a big oil cook stove, set in a laneway in downtown Nanaimo. And before she was one month old we moved into it. It was the winter of 1980.

I remember the health nurse coming by to check on me and my baby, but it was so minimal a visit. I had no idea if I was producing enough milk. No coaching. I knew nothing about milk “coming in” or “good latching.” The nurse said she would be back the following week, but she never came. Dennis was a musician and away on the road, so I was on my own much of the time. I had no circle of girlfriends, and I guess my family thought I was doing fine.

I kept breastfeeding, and carried her around the cabin in a “snuggly” because she would fuss a bit. Then I took her to our family doctor for a check up. He took one look at her and he said, ‘this baby is starving,’ and gave me the name of a brand of soy based formula. I obviously wasn’t producing enough milk. I went to the pharmacy straight away, bought it, and fed her as soon we got home. Within days it seemed she ballooned into a rolly polly healthy baby.

We were on welfare for short time. I had no vehicle. We carried our laundry to and from the laundry mat downtown. The majority of Zana’s clothes were from second hand or discount stores. Her stroller was salvaged from the roadside. Her toys were minimal. I went to work at an art gallery in my downtown when she was six months old, taking her with me in her stroller. Luckily she was a very content and happy baby!  When she was three her father and I separated. Zana and I moved a lot during her childhood, and being a working single mother brought its own complications and hardships.

I was ignorant and extremely naive, though I somehow held it together.

Today Zana, now 38, is strong, compassionate and caring, and fearless in the face of challenges. She has always worked. A self-taught talented pastry cook and caterer. She has travelled abroad alone. When she became pregnant she had a Dula and a Midwife, she had a nursery room ready and waiting with everything the baby would need, a closet stocked with baby clothes, a car seat, crib, stroller, all the things all in a beautiful  home. When the baby came she had consulted a nursing coach. Zana knew what to do, and if she didn’t, she knew where to find the information. Her children were brought into a loving, stable and secure home life.

Then there’s my girlfriend’s son, also 38. She was 17 when she gave birth to him. She separated from his father when her son was four, leaving him in the fathers custody, and embarked on a long arduous path of waitressing, and education, and long periods of absence. The dad and her son lived in a small, cedar shingled A-Frame cabin in a rural, rustic area. The house was under heavy renovation construction, with a makeshift ladder to get upstairs to the bedroom, a make shift toilet and a two by four construct that served as the kitchen.

Her son today, lives in Vancouver, works for Apple overseeing several outlets, owns a condo. He’s a talented musician, he and three of his band members have been playing musically since the age of thirteen. They’ve cut three albums. He has been with his current partner since the age of 19, they married 6 years ago. His wife works at a daycare. They had their first baby 15 months ago and he is an amazing, fully engaged father and loving, attentive husband.

The contrast of parenting experience is stark between myself and my daughter and my friend and her son. We were not ready. And still our kids came out winning, in spite of all our unpreparedness, hardships and chaos.

Yes, girlfriend, they are so ready. With soul, heart and mind. And I’ll add one quote, in light of their upbringing, from a Chuck Berry song:

“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.”

 

Salmon Arm Snail Shells

Last week Zana and I went into town for groceries, parked the truck and went in to shop. When we came back there was a little pile of snail shells on the concrete in front of the truck.

 

Random act, magic spells, or a child unloading her pocket ? Doesn’t matter. But I tell you, the snails in Salmon Arm are spectacular!

Welcome Opal

Opal comes home, and the midwife Ariel coming by to check on things.

I want to quickly share the news that my daughter Zana just brought her new baby girl home yesterday! She and hubby Don already have 22 month old Saylor who has become a big sister overnight!  I intended on staying with them a short time at their home in Salmon Arm to help out  just until things got settled in, then head home, but Zana wound up needing a C-Section five hours into her heavy contractions! No one saw that one coming. All went well thankfully, but it was an excruciating labour for her.

She stayed only one night in hospital too because the bed was sooo uncomfortably hard and the room dreary (which it was). Now she’s faced with 6 weeks convalescence with absolutely no lifting, like 30lb toddlers!  And as we all know, toddlers are spastic balls of energy, and Saylor is no exception.

So, it looks like I may be staying on with them a little longer unless plans change, we’ll see. So far I’ve been taking care of the cooking (which I enjoy!) and keeping things tidy while helping out with Saylor during Zana’s final pregnancy stages, so i’ll just carry on. Typical Mother/Mother-in-law/ Grandmother protocol.

I’m happy to be in a position to help out. Fortunately I retired early so have no pressing time line I have to adhere to. There’s Bob of course, back on the island, but he understands fully. And he is only 5 hours away.

We’ll see how things pan out~

 

 

#How I spent my summer vacation

It’s been a busy time for me! But it isn’t over, even being well into August with summer winding down and Autumn fast approaching, still I’m not even home yet. And the best is soon to come, which will be evident at the end of this post.

The road trip began July 20th when Bob and I went to Vancouver to spend a weekend with our son, his wife and our fourteen month old granddaughter that included a day and evening at the Vancouver Folk Fest. Then, leaving Vancouver, we stopped in for an over night at our daughter, her husband and our 22 month old granddaughter’s house in Salmon Arm BC. before heading off to cross four provinces, part of Ontario, over the Superior Lake Head and down to Parry Sound where we had a rented cottage on Georgian Bay waiting for us. Ok, not so much a cottage, more an 1890’s farm house that may have some skeletons in all the closets. But I believe they were friendly.

We did the drive in four days, taking shifts, 10 to 12 hours a day and had no problems finding hotel or motel accommodations along the way, nothing fancy, just a clean place to sleep. Once in Parry Sound family and friends showed up and we spent a week swimming, reconnecting, kayaking, fishing, lots of eating, and playing a lot of scrabble. I won one game. I have sworn myself to hone up to dethrone Crystal and Mel the next time I see them. In about three years. I should be ready by then.

Below follows more of a photo narration because I don’t have a lot of free time at the moment to weave wondrous tales to describe each photo. Why? Well, like I mentioned earlier there is still stuff going on here. So with that said, here is what I have so far ~

Vancouver Music Fest 2019 

 

The Three Sisters, Canora, Alberta. Winding through the rockies, heading east. 2019

 

Then it gets really horizontal from here on out. Boring to most but a joy to me. #prairielove

 

Gassing up in Saskatchewan. Remember when someone used to come out to fill your tank? I barely can.  Not one but two guys cleaning the windshield while a third pumped the gas. I nearly squealed for joy. Because I dislike pumping my own gas, especially in winter, with freezing wind whipping at me. Or any other time.

 

My attempt at upholding a particular Canadian tradition while in transit. Meh.

 

The Assiniboine River runs through Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

 

A Superior dip. Lake Superior, Ontario. The lake head part of the drive is a long bit, but a beauty. Water was perfect for swimming.

 

Lake Superior, Ontario. Old Woman Bay.

 

We have a stupid, no, totally perverted memory of Wawa, Ontario. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. But this place has great fudge 🙂

 

We stopped in Webbwood, Ontario for snacks at ‘ol Tom Stewart’s- and Wife. Must be a marriage made in heaven.

 

Our destination. The big old house in Parry Sound Ontario has 5 bedrooms, creaky floors, tons of homey funkiness, a secret stairway off of the kitchen to one of the upstairs bedrooms, an interior that’s a tad spooky and looks as though the family just left the key and took off. It had plenty of room for everyone. Right on Georgian Bay, minutes from downtown. Perfect.

 

Ideal. Our own dock and swim platform along with a canoe and aluminium skiff to use too.

 

We were treated to a harbour cruise too! The black triangle in the centre of the map shows where our boat is on GPS

 

Bob and his daughter crystal.

 

Bob’s family roots go way back in Parry Sound. Parents born and raised there. Grandparents raised their children there, and this is his grandfathers bakery. Even Bobby Ore’s dad was Bob’s Pee Wee hockey coach.

 

Georgian Bay, Muskoka, known for the iconic wind bent pine trees, Tom Thompson, and the Adirondack chair at the lake cottage.

Tom Thompson painted from this exact spot, and you can too. There is even a little easle-table handily installed if you’re suddenly struck with inspiration.

 

The main motivating factor behind the road trip- to see the newest member. Great granddaughter Arabella cuddling here with her momma Shannon and grandmother Crystal relaxing in cottage’s enclosed porch.

 

Bob’s Aunt Lillian’s Flea Market. A cornucopia of cottagey things. She’s closing down in September for good. 90 years old, she could use a rest. She also was born and raised in Parry Sound, and is the last of the elders in Bob’s family.

 

We attended the Wasauksing First Nations Pow Wow. I was really moved by the ceremony and traditional dancing. Goosebumps happened.

 

Bands from far as Oklahoma and Kansas gathered.

 

 

Bob revisited the swimming spot of his youth at Depot Harbour on Parry Island.

 

Yep- won ONE game. “RUBE” that was my word. Pretty fitting considering I was learning the game.

 

What it took to feed the masses. I know, it looks a mess, and as a chef, for me- nearly cringe worthy, but it was daily managed because we ate and ate, and ate.

 

Sunset on the Bay.

 

Heading home west. The Saskatchewan Prairie really speaks to me. I find this land an inspiration on a profound level.

 

Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Main street. Val Marie is situated right up next to the Grasslands National Park Preserve. Stunning area, in my eyes.

 

Val Marie Saskatchewan. The distant glowing bluff in the horizon is part of the Grasslands Preserve.

 

Old Wheat Pool at evening time, Val Marie Sask.

 

Morning rise. Val Marie Sask.

 

Where we stayed the night in Val Marie, Sask. The Convent Inn. A great story lies within these walls of what was a catholic school for the resident youth of Val Marie. I will likely write a post just on this place in the next months.  A great place to spend a night or three, and explore the grasslands.

 

The school chalkboard at The Convent Inn , guests leave words of wisdom and inspiration.

 

Val Marie, Sask.

 

Val Marie, Sask. I found beauty everywhere my eyes fell.

Arriving at Salmon Arm B.C. once again Bob, after a few days visit, leaves me at our daughter’s and heads back to Vancouver Island. I’m staying here to help out while she gets ready to have their second baby- any day now, and help look after their toddler. I’ll stay on after the birth for a short while before finally getting back to my island home on the West coast!

So now we are all on stand by for the reveal. In the meantime, how could I have forgotten how much energy it takes to live with a toddler!  Sparky little dynamos-  I’m pooped out by night fall. But I think I’m catching my second wind after two weeks here, should be toned up and primed by the time this second one arrives. I hope. For now, I’m in bed at 8:30.