Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More New Art




This is a photo of my last sculpture project. The assignment was to use an object from nature, and alter it in some abstract way. The process involved hand building a replication of the object with clay. Then pour plaster over it making a mold, once that was hardened, the clay is removed. Cement is finally poured into the plaster mold. Once this is hardened, it is then slowly removed using chisel and wooden mallet. Great for the biceps...but only the arm you are using, unless you can use both arms! After this process the cement sculpture is revealed!

I used my grandmother's beautiful conk shell, that was in our family ever since I can remember. I patterned it using other shells I had, and a hand tool I made from wood. I also added a Third Eye/Eye of God on the pointed end of the shell. I then applied wax to give it a little shine after buffing. I'll be putting it outside in my garden come Spring. I can hardly wait for Spring!

Next project in January will be a sculpture using chisel and wooden mallet out of a poured block of plaster I made.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Art


I was hoping to get to finish of my last school project today. Started off up the road...slippery freezing drizzle! I hesitated coming back home but decided to not take the chance of going off the road after having a flat Sunday morning. I may try again shortly.

Meantime I am posting some of my last projects in this week,

I am very excited about my next term in the New Year. I received the Crake Internship through Mount Allison to do a project. My intention is to do a historical visual documentation of the Canadian Horse through drawing, painting and photography. Many people including Canadians are unaware that we have our own National Breed. It is my hope that I can do my part to help change this fact, as it contributed greatly to the establishment of Canada long before Canada was a country.

The following painting I just had fun with and it was my last project in my painting class. The assignment was to do a portrait or a historical document. I combined both portrait and historical document. The portrait is of Murray Calder the Senator responsible for helping to get Bill S-22 passed in 2002, making the Canadian Breed our National Horse. I used a copy of Bill S-22 as a collage for Murray's trousers, and no, the eyes of the Canadian Horse are not bottle caps of Canadian beer! I just wanted to use the Maple Leaf Logo that was on the copy of the print out of the bill.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't Forget Your Underwear!


I received an email from a childhood friend the other day. We write back and forth, shared stories we've written, usually about our past experiences. She sent me a short story about leaving her car keys in her rented car that she'd locked while it was running. She had been preoccupied and caught up in the excitement of having a car to drive after being without wheels for several months.

I replied with a note, sharing my own thoughts, and just made a comment about not to forget your underwear. I thought I was being witty and wise in my comments to her.

I will tell you I hate bras and it's the first thing I do when I come home, is take that thing off and fling it somewhere. That same day I'd received my friends email, I left for school.When I arrived in the photo department I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to put my bra on! Then I did it the next day too! It all wasn't so funny at the moment but it's pretty funny to me now. I think this happens a lot to those of us who are right brained. I've been this way all my life, so instead of letting it frustrate and upset me I have learned to embrace my, what I call "brain farts".

So if you forget your underwear, it's ok. You don't need to worry about it getting in a knot! It's just your right brain trying to tell you something.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Faith, Fear and Meltdown





Holy jumpin' I haven't written for so long, since August and here it is Remembrance Day. I have continued my long hand journal, so I have made certain to keep up mental meanderings and rants documented.

I am posting some of my latest art projects from my studio classes at Mount Allison University, where I am finishing my Fine Art degree. Classes started September 8th, but not first without the major challenge of figuring out how the heck I was going to get back and forth to school everyday, over an hour and fifteen minutes away, with Fall rapidly approaching. Without a vehicle for over 2 and a half years, I had to hitch hike to school for ten days before finally being able to purchase my car. Getting this car was such a miraculous blessing to me.

I'm here to testify and as a witness, don't every doubt that God is looking out for you. I couldn't believe I'd managed to hitch hike without any major problems. I did get stuck for two hours returning home one evening. I found myself having an emotional meltdown out on the country road, feeling so overwhelmed with feelings of being burdened with many "with outs". Mosquitoes where about to carry my head away completely driving me crazy as I waited there thinking, how sick I was of being without a car, having no money and no ride home! Help me, help me, help, was my prayer! Finally after stopping at a house, I called a good friend, who immediately and very generously offered to come get me. I then returned to a calmer state of mind.

I was about as tired, depressed, down and out as I could get that evening, only to find myself riding a happy wave of joy, when arriving back home to find out my Student Loan had been deposited into my account! Gratitude now overwhelmed me. I was on top again! Thank you, thank you, thank you, was my prayer now!

I have heard it said Faith is courage that has said it's prayers. I have also heard it said that having courage doesn't mean you are not afraid. I say, Amen to that!

Peace - Catherine

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shout Out


I wanted to give a shout out of gratitude to the Universe and the Great Spirit today in this blog.

Writing daily in my journal over a period of many years, has been and is always a great way for me to keep an ongoing inventory of things I have to be grateful for, and to simply keep the garbage of my mind's windshield clear, so I can see where I'm going a little clearer and enjoy the view!


I go back and forth from blogging to long hand writing in my daily journal and really prefer that for different reasons than blogging. Both have advantages and drawbacks. I will say, long hand writing allows my thoughts to gel and clarify, before I get them down on paper. When I type sometimes my thoughts are pouring out and I write them faster then they come. I am not quite as thoughtful at times when typing. Though I am getting better at slowing my thoughts down to be in cinque with my typing, I still am very partial to the long hand process; even the writing of the letters and sentences in themselves I love.

One of the reasons I am writing today, is to say to the God of my understanding, thank you, thank you, thank you. One of my favorite writers Anne Lamott says two of her best prayers are thank you, thank you, thank you and help me, help me , help me. Mine too. I don't ever want to forget to say thank you. This is what keeps me happy in my life, regardless of what happens, having a grateful attitude toward life in general makes me happy. I believe it is this attitude that is the secret to happiness.

A few days ago I picked up my journal and realized I hadn't documented one of the most momentous events of my life, that has been a constant dream I was consciously and unconsciously wanting and working toward fulfilling. I have written about this some in previous blog entries, relating to my " Soul Bargain". Specifically I am referring to my creative goals, and longings; returning to University to finish my degree in Fine Arts.

For those who are don't know a bit of the background, I will tell you. I was 27 in my last year at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and newly married for four months, to the love of my life. He very unexpectedly died and though I tried to return to complete my degree, I was simply unable to cope emotionally, in spite of the fact, I was producing probably my best art work. So, life happened and I wasn't able to return to school.

The fact that I hadn't graduated weighed very heavy on my heart, for many years. With many prayers, trust and persistence, I now find myself after almost thirty years in the incredible and I believe miraculous position of being able to return to the University I always desired to attend. When I left high school, the marks were in the dumper and I didn't think I'd ever be accepted, so I went to NSCAD. I am not sorry I went, but I am absolutely so grateful and my cup is overflowing, that after all these years, I will be attending the University I wanted to originally attend, as I was accepted this summer to attend in the Fall!

On August 7th I received notification my Student Loan application had been approved and with that, this is the final notice I needed to actually be able to go! Because no dough...no go! And for this I am so grateful! As well, I want to say I am so very grateful to all of my friends and family who have been so encouraging and supportive to me in my decision to return to complete my BFA! You guys rock!


It's very easy to loose track of the things we could and should be grateful for and I think this is why for me, it is a very positive, life affirming, transforming and empowering activity to involve myself in. Writing always reminds me, hey, don't forget what you are supposed to remember! Be grateful, be happy! Hell! I feel better already!

And remember this...don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things! Except if it's your horse of course!

Kind Regards - Catherine

Friday, July 10, 2009

School


I hated school, not learning, but the way public school approached teaching and how memorizing was more important than whether or not you learned anything that would be practical to your life. It was more about regurgitating what you memorized for an exam and if you forgot it immediately after, it made little difference to anyone.Reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator, that was the goal. There was never any sense of the individual being nurtured or encouraged.

I heard a man on C.B.C radio, the program, Ideas. His name was John Taylor Gatto. He taught 25 years in the New York public school system and he was an awarded teacher of the year, for New York State. He explains it all very well how the school system works, or doesn't work. He has written a book entitled, Dumbing Us Down. He talks about the seven lessons that are taught in schools generally.

1.Confusion

2.Class position

3.Indifference

4.Emotional dependency

5.Intellectual dependency

6.Provisional self-esteem

7.One can't hide

If you are interested in his web site it is www.johntaylorgatto.com It clarifys it all for me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shitter Shakers Apple River History

Here is a bit of Apple River history that took place a few years ago.

I started to teach belly dance at our local village hall last night. Five students with some more to come Thursday. It's history in the making here, real exciting to me. Who would of every imagined this would be happening in a village with such a small population of 60, made up of fishermen, woodsman and martyring maritime women who "stand by their man".I had been one in the past, so I say this without any disdain.

Our group of women were great fun, I felt we were doing almost something clandestine.
I went to visit my great friend after the class she gave me copious cups of coffee, oreo cookies and raisin toast for my supper, which she knew I hadn't had before my class. We had great conversation about women in a man's world, doing "men's" work , women working with men, which we both have done in the past, me a welder and her a fisherman with her Captain's license and she also worked at INCO. It was great talk, we are of the same cloth, her and I. Live by the seat of our pants, don't take no horse shit especially from what I like to call knuckle draggin' neanderthals! God only knows there's lots around everywhere you go...with hair on their backs I'm sure! Hey some of them are women!
Don't get me wrong I love men, just don't like a lot of their behaviour at times.
Belly Dance is an empowering art. I hope that in my own humble way I can make a difference in my little community to help change some of the attitudes that keep both men and women confined to a rigid gender definition and we are shakin' things up in Apple River, belly dancin' our way to freedom, celebrating who we are, just the way we are bellys and all!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Car Is Not My Life


This is a story of what happened to me a few years back, when I had a car. I haven't had one now for going on two years. Feels like a lifetime. I love cars, I've had some good ones and real bad ones. If you have one for sale, please let me know? I really need one now, but like the title to this story says, my car's not my life, but it sure helps if it's a good car!


On Thursday of this week I was coming home from work. I am a pastry cook in a very beautiful location in Nova Scotia. www.capedor.ca It is very remote and you have to travel a fair distance up a long and winding dirt road. At the end of the road you must then walk down a craggy trail to arrive at the most beautiful sight in the world to me, the sea and the sky. Along the cliff stands a lighthouse, a lighthouse keepers Inn and guesthouse. There is the lighthouse keepers kitchen which is where I work. I always say it doesn't matter what kind of day you have, you can't be in a bad mood for long when you are in the mist of such stunning and awesome beauty.

Well, I am hear to tell you I had the day from hell this Thursday past, and it was on the Cape Dor road. I was coming down that road after working my shift 6:30am til 12:30 p.m. My boss had to go on an errand down to the village, so I got an extra hour in. I was glad because my hours have been cut from 32 down to 20. I have bills coming out my ying yang and it would have been more pleasurable to have monkeys coming out of my ass Thursday and to be anywhere other than Cape Dor. When I was driving down the road my fan had been cutting in and out until about halfway down the hill. It had not been working the past few days and then began to work. Now, it had been on and off several times during this journey from work. Suddenly, my horn went on and wouldn't quit off nor could it be stopped. Then, I saw smoke coming from under the hood of my car. I could tell by the colour of the smoke, this was not the overheating kind of smoke, but hell shitadamn, my car is on fire kinda smoke, and what in hell am I gonna do now!!! So I got out of the car and looked to see flames flying out from under the tops of the tires! I was shittin' bricks to put it mildly! I didn't know what to do next. I ran around doing a few things that I'd rather not share in public, suffice to say I was insane! Anyway, I managed to get a grip on myself after running back and forth trying to decide whether to run up the hill or down, not knowing which way would be closer to finding someone to help and call the fire department. I ran downhill. Easier to run down, than up. I was sweatin' bullets! It was one of the hottest days I can remember this summer. Fortunately I met some people, tourists that stopped and drove to the closest house and I called my good friend Jim, who called the fire department for me. By the time he'd come to pick me up and we got to where my car was, it was completely engulfed in flames. My biggest worry was that it would blow up and someone on the road would get hurt coming along either way. Apparently, it is very likely a car will blow from fumes and not from a full tank of gas. I had next to no gas. Why or how it didn't blow was a mystery. I just thank God it didn't and no one got hurt.

My boss arrived at the scene with Jim and I. I broke down but still tried to keep my sense of humour. I asked Darcy if he had marsh mellows or any wieners. I had to try and laugh to keep from crying and to keep my perspective.
Now I 'll tell you this car wasn't fancy or expensive but it was paid for, purple and my shaggin' wagon. The back seats went down! I loved that car. I had a few cars I'd gladly of torched believe me, but that car wasn't one of them. It was my baby. 1994 Ford Aspire. The Purple Beet, I called her. Don't laugh it was paid for!

In my moment of insane panic, I have to tell you this. There was a split second, I almost thought to get into that car and drive to get help! Then I just as quickly snapped out of it and thought... you never run into a burning building... you sure as hell never get back into a burning car!

The same day after returning home from Jim and Lois' who were very comforting and kind to me, I won a $20 prize on a Set For Life Lottery ticket!!! Made $55 at the local Farmer's market today and I continue to receive a lot of love and support from friends who love me. So, the point of the story is... yes the Cape is a beautiful piece of God's heaven still, and I was not in hell that Thursday, it's just called life and shit happens in life, that never changes, shit continues to happen and always will. What has changed is my attitude. Today I am very grateful. I take the bad with the good, see the good in the bad, and live life on life's terms, and say the Serenity Prayer a lot. I have a gratitude list, count my blessings, my friends, my family, and my life. It's a great day to be alive no matter where I am, think of all those people that are dead! Hey... don't let your meatloaf!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Larry and Goo


Larry and Goo


I remember the day my brother got sick very vividly. When I went to the hospital to see him, I cried but my mother told me not to. This was the beginning of an emotional shut down. I saw no one in my family cry, so I stuffed my feelings whenever I could, from here on in.

The doctors told my parents my brother would benefit from country life so we moved to a small village in Southern Ontario called, Caledon. It was picture perfect, the opposite of our lives.

Dad was gone most of the time, working on the road he was a driver examiner now. Drinking more heavily, much of which I think he tried to hide. I was afraid of him when he was hungover. But life went on and there were a lot of wonderful things about this little place.

We lived in the Church manse, a big old country house, with fireplaces in just about every room, they were boarded over. The country church was across the street. My mother she played the organ every Sunday and I attended Sunday school faithfully for a whole year. There was a horse across the street too, which I would like to have been friendly with but he was a biter, not friendly, so I left him alone.

Betty, my very best friend, we'd raid Gary and Lou's garden . My brother and me, always called them Larry and Goo. I mistakenly called them that one day, so we just liked those names better because it made us laugh. They were two bachelor brothers, that lived together and they had the most wonderful garden. You didn't want to get caught raiding their garden because they'd be furious. All we wanted were a few cucumbers boys, give us a break! We'd sit by the hour eating cucumbers with our paring knives and salt shaker. That was the life. We'd hang out down at the feed mill, sitting on bags of grain and watch the older kids smoke. The smell of that grain was so sweet. You could pick gooseberries by the bucket. We hang out down by the creek. I took piano lessons with Mrs Bean.

I did some crazy things, having too much time on my hands alone. One day, I shaved my eyebrow off. My mother wasn't impressed. I thought maybe if I put a band aid over the spot where my eyebrow was, she wouldn't notice. No, I thought I'd better put two band aids on both spots. I bravely came downstairs, with no band aids, ready to face the music. I knew I had to tell her I'd shaved my eyebrow off. After I calmly announced to her what I did, I ran upstairs throwing myself onto my bed, whaling my head off, pleading that she not tell my father. She threatened to if I didn't shut up. I shut up.

Another time I stuck my finger into the holes above an old hand pump out in our yard. My dad told me we'd have to have the fire department to get that off or I'd be dragging a pump around from my hand, for the rest of my life.

Life can be sweet when you enjoy the simple things, even the things that get you into trouble. That's the way it is when you're a kid, getting pleasure from the simple things. I don't ever want to loose that ability.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Great White North


When my husband died, I made the decision to head to the North, in 1982, after being convinced by my longest and dearest childhood friend, that is closer to me than a sister, who was already living there, that this was the place for me.

Being an artist and a musician, she assured me, Yellowknife was full of creative types and I would fit right in. I thought that sounded like a good reason to leave my Nova Scotia roots. In retrospect I know now, I was taking the geographical cure, running from my grief, my broken heart and I was broken in every way. I convinced myself I had a very logical reason to go North. I told my mother I wanted to snag myself a Mountie, and make a big fist wad of money. In disapproval, she exclaimed my name out loud and shook her head in disbelief. I sensed she was right, but I was determined to prove her wrong, that I wasn't as crazy as a bag of hammers.
So with 300 bucks in my pocket, the trip in and of itself was an adventure, and one etched forever in my memory. I boarded a train from my hometown to Edmonton, where I spent a few days with a friend before taking the bus two days later, headed for the Mackenzie highway.
At midnight, I stepped onto the bus with a degree of trepidation and as the miles, upon miles passed, the number of passengers dwindled to four, myself included.

We arrived at the ice bridge, a supposed frozen body of water, unknown to me, the day before it was to close on April 28th.
The bus driver kept sticking his head out the window, and I didn't know why, just thinking this was odd. I was also looking out the windows, and I saw small trees that marked the way to follow along the ice bridge. Of course I did not know this and assumed we were driving over a frozen marsh. I had not made the geographical change in my Nova Scotian mind.

The driver then proceeded to get out, and off the bus, removed our luggage from the lower compartment to the passenger level, because he was obviously concerned that our bags were going to get wet. This was the reason he had been was craning his neck out the window of course, watching the water level on the ice.

When I realized just what was happening, all I could do was think of my mother and what she was going to think if I ended up on the bottom of Great Slave Lake. We were actually on the Mackenzie River; all the same to me then, wet and very cold. I quickly started to say my Hail Mary's, very seriously, as my heart pounded and raced. I reflected back to what a fellow I met on the train had said. He told me someone usually goes through the ice bridge every now and again in their vehicle, when the ice starts breaking up.
He had been very kind to me on the train, offering to lend me his guitar to play, if I wanted to perform anywhere. It was a beautiful Ovation.

I took him up on this offer after getting my first job, two days upon my arrival at Yellowknife, at the Polar Bear Lounge and Bowling Alley. The man that hired me, ran the establishment and was one of many Northern characters. I told him I had just blown in from Nova Scotia and did he need a singer? He immediately invited me into his office for a cup of coffee and informed me he knew people in Yellowknife, that where from my home town. He immediately hired me without ever hearing me sing or play my guitar. I am certain he gave me the gig because I was Nova Scotian. Yellowknife is full of Maritimers.

People in the North have a very adventurous and generous spirit and love to see others the same, free and wild. Well, I wasn't as free as I thought, but I sure was wild to say the least in those days and I was just getting started, as soon as I got off that God forsaken bus! Once we arrived onto dry land it was pitch dark, and our bus had developed a serious mechanical problem. The relay coil under the dash went. Lights, heater and the phone no longer functioned, they were all dead.

We spent some of the night on the bus and the rest in community center, that was in a remote village, Rae Edzo, still many hours away from Yellowknife. We would have to wait and for daylight and get the bus repaired.
Hypothermia and sleep deprivation were all playing with my thinking, but I had started to seriously question my decision; wondering what the heck I was doing, and where in God's name was I going?

On the road we made a pit stop and I got to a phone to call my friend who was supposed to be meeting me with her husband. I gathered the place we were in was a bar/restaurant and the characters there looked very unfriendly and foreboding. I said to my friend in desperate relief, after hearing her voice, on the other end of the phone, I had no idea where I was. I looked around and then asked one of the customers in the bar, where I was. Someone mumbled something. They all may as well have been aliens, and me a stranger in a strange land; this could just as easily have been a bad "B" movie where the stranger always gets killed off, and that would be me.

My grand arrival finally came 24 hours late, when I stepped off that bus monster machine, at 7:30 a.m., my good friends waiting for me, with a welcoming roast beef dinner and a cold beer at their home. Man I'll tell you that was the best breakfast I'll ever have in a lifetime.
Suddenly I felt like my good friend and I were the counterparts of Bob and Doug and Mackenzie. We were real hosers! Kooroo cuckoo koo roo cuckoo, we both sang as loud as we could at the top of our lungs that joyful day, I landed in the Great White North. Hey and we're still hosers. Take Off eh!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life's Humbling Moments


In 1980, I went to Toronto, to study Mime, Comedia del Arte, which is the basis of street theater, using half mask. It was a two year course, condensed into one year. There were only nine students. We spent four hours a day, practicing and performing acrobatics, juggling, improvisation, yoga, and doing mime.
It could be a very grueling routine, not so much because of the physical demands, but due to our teacher. He had a rather autocratic and tyrannical personality. In retrospect now, he put me in mind of the Soup Nazi, on Seinfeld . He was the Mime Nazi.
Fortunately, this was balanced somewhat, with the humor, and kindness of our teacher's great assistant, who would often lighten and defuse the mood.
One occasion arose in class, the day we learned an acrobatic trip trick. The technique was to simply hook one foot behind the opposite leg, while walking forward, which gave the illusion of tripping.

My turn had come to demonstrate my mastery over the skill, while the rest of my eight classmates watched in silence, being careful not to disturb my concentration. This was the usual routine in class for all of us.
This acrobatic trick was straight forward, I thought. I did not anticipate any problem.
When you are in such close physical proximity with people, everyday, doing these kinds of activities, certain expected, or unexpected factors, come into play.
I proceeded to carry out the exercise, walking ahead, hooking my left foot around my right. My perfected technique was a flawless execution. Consecutively, it had been punctuated with the impeccable timing, of one of those completely unexpected factors, a noise...flatulence...commonly and by some, affectionately, known as as fart.
I could not believe I had done this in front of a room of strangers, who I barely knew,and whom I wasn't going to be able to avoid seeing in the near future, every day.
The whole class broke out into uproarious hysterical laughter, especially after the assistant teacher loudly commented, that I, was now going to demonstrate how to trip and spontaneously fart at the same time.

I swallowed my pride and sucked up a heaping helping of humility and just started laughing. After all, this is why I was there, to learn how to be a fool.

Along with many lessons during my life, I have learned these three very important things, that I try to apply to my daily walk.

1. Always have a good sense of humor, develop and practice it as a lifestyle.
2. Understand and practice humility.
3. Love and accept your own humanity, in turn being compassionate toward others.

These things may not be important to anyone else, but me. They continue to help me to be happy in life.

I once read in a life changing book, The Spirituality of Imperfection, this life changing bit of powerful information.

The common root word in humor, humility, and humanity is humus, which means worm poo...yes worm shit. It was said, by the writer of the book, that these three were essential to living life fully alive.
I have come to believe this as being a great truth. It has helped me immeasurably and continues to do so.

I am reminded as well, of what a dear friend once said to me. " Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things". If I do this, it helps me to remind myself to have humor, acceptance of people places and things, especially acceptance of myself and to remember, I am a human being, not perfect and can't expect others to be either.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Growing Up


I have sweet memories of growing up in Toronto, and in other parts of Ontario. I have troubled ones too. It was an adventure much of the time lots to explore I seemed fearless then. Jumping off box cars, roaming' the neighborhood. Lots of friends from different cultures. We rented a house from an Italian family in Toronto. We had plums and peaches out back and crickets would climb up the kitchen sink in the morning's because they'd had made wine in the basement, that's why they were there. That's what I was told. Too many bees, too many crickets. I hate bugs.

My very best friend was Josie Stevens, about 13 kids in the family. I thought I wanted her brother as my boyfriend when I was about 6 or 7, but I just wanted him to buy me the 3 cent ring at the corner store. I loved that cheap jewelry, still do. I'm like a crow that loves shiny things.

My brother got sick with MS there. He was 16 I was 6. Life was full of hospital then.

I was born in small town Nova Scotia, full of characters and history. Two sides of the tracks there. Rich, poor, black and white. We were white lower middle class. Father moved the family to T.O when I was six months old. He had been a cop. Got fired for drinking on the job. So he took the geographical cure down the road, I suppose. We'd do the usual trek to Nova Scotia every summer. Dad would drive continuous; mum would feed us copious amounts of sandwiches peanut butter and jam, bologna, and sandwich spread. God I got sick of them! Dad would always get lost going through Quebec, try to get directions from a cop, who would refuse to speak English, which would send dad into a rage, he'd curse, swear calling them names I won't repeat. .

Summer's were comfort to me cool and hot days spent at the shore living in the ocean. We'd stay at my aunt and uncle's cottage sometimes, more sandwiches! My aunt she never was one to make anything real good to eat, but she sure did love to eat. Like all Maritimers.

My father's brother and wife they had a store. I loved visiting them. Uncle Ed would give me lots of candy.

My grandmother's house, was always the same, everything in it's place always the same. Every morning she'd ask the same thing, "what are you going to have this morning, an egg?"

Grand dad had a swing he'd made for me in his garage that had that smell old wooden garages have. I love that smell. I would spend hours on that swing watching the bugs and bees. When I was in the house, I'd get all my grandmother's nic nacs down and play with them by the hour.I spent a lot of time alone, amusing myself, using my imagination. I guess I'm still doing that.

Poor grand dad he was deaf as a nit. He'd never put his hearing aid in. I quickly figured out why, my grandmother nagged him constant.

She caught him one day giving home brew to the mailman out the basement window. She flew into the mailman with a broom. Grand dad never did that again. At least if he did, granny never knew. She had quite the temper. Granny was brought up a die hard Baptist, her father was a tyrant and everything was evil, even school. Thank God grand dad had a love of learning, though he wasn't educated. He had two sisters that were teachers. Both my grandparents on my mother's side were from English and Scottish families. Farmer's, hard working people, very musical. Grand dad's people had a love and thirst for knowledge and learning. They were a kind, egalitarian, Christian family.

Never knew much about dad's family. The men were hard workers, miners, fighters, drinkers, from the old country. I met the matriarch of our family in Minto New Brunswick, my great aunt. She spoke seven languages and was Cheqoslovakian. She was a character, she would translate for the coal company and the miners, who spoke no English. I met her when she was 92. She lived in a little house with her animals that she loved. I remember going through Minto on our way to Nova Scotia in the summers and thinking, is that where my family lived? Then, there were tar paper shacks, literally. It was a depressing looking place. I was sure grateful to meet my great aunt. She told me about my father's grandfather and grandmother. Great grandfather was from Danzig (Gdansk) and my great grandmother was from Auchan. She was very good with her hands doing very fine handy work.

I would love to visit these places some day. It's important to know our roots and about our family I believe, as it helps us to understand who we are and why, even the stuff we'd rather not know about, even some of the relatives we'd rather not know we are related to.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Making A Soul Bargin


The following quotation is from the book , The Path To Love, Spiritual Strategies for Healing, by Deepak Chopra.

I promised in my previous blog to explain just what I meant when I referred to, " Soul Bargain , " and how this has helped me to actualize some of my hopes and dreams. If you try this you may be very surprised how it might help you as well.

" Healing the split between love and spirit is the goal of this book, and periodically I will give practical suggestions to that end. Usually these " loving practices" are directed to the reader, but I recommend, were possible, that you and your beloved both try them.

The first loving practice addresses doubts you may have about whether a "higher" love has any kind of accessible reality. To someone who has never fallen in love, you cannot prove that the experience exists. There is no power in words to evoke passionate romantic love, just as the fragrance of a rose is meaningless however beautifully you describe it. How much more alien, then, is the love promised by union with spirit? Look at the following list of things that love is supposed to accomplish, expanded from the list that appeared earlier in the text:

Love is meant to heal
Love is meant to renew.
Love is meant to make us safe.
Love is meant to inspire us with its power.
Love is meant to make us certain, without doubt.
Love is meant to oust all fear.
Love is meant to unveil immortality.
Love is meant to bring peace.
Love is meant to harmonize differences.
Love is meant bring us closer to God.

Even if this list strikes you as unrealistic, or wildly overblown, I want you to make a bargain with love-a soul bargain-that any or all of these things will come true for you.

Take a piece of paper and write down what you want from love. If it is a real force, if it is attuned to who you are, love will respond. Make your list as complete and specific as you can. I suggest writing down every entry from the preceding list and beside it just what you want. For example:

Love is meant to heal.

I want to heal my anger toward my father. I want to heal the love I couldn't give to my children when they needed it. I want to heal my hurt over losing my friend X.

Love is meant to renew.

I want to feel renewed enthusiasm for my work. I want to renew the sexual feelings I have for my wife. I want to renew my sense of being young.

Love is meant to make us safe.

I want to feel safer with other people. I want to feel safe when I go outdoors for morning run. I want to feel safe from having X reject me if I tell him I love him.

Love is meant to inspire us with its power.

I want my love to be powerful. I want to use all my own power with love. I want to express love when I feel it and not give in to lower emotions like fear and anger.


Once you are satisfied that you have detailed everything you want-and don't feel afraid to ask too much-the bargain is complete. Put the piece of paper away in a safe place. You have announced to your soul what you want, and it is up to love to respond. Love is intelligent and aware; it knows you better that you know yourself. Therefore it has the power to fulfill its side of the bargain. Rest easy and be attentive over the next few months. Don't dwell on your list or try to make it come true. there is nothing you need to do except this:

When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.

This is how you align yourself with love. At the end of a few months, take out your list and read it over. Ask yourself how much has come true. I won't say that you will be amazed at what love has actually done-although many people are-but you will certainly be surprised. Actually asking for love is one of the most difficult things for anyone to risk, and by risking it first in your hearty, you open a door that will never close again. "

Deepak Chopra - The Path To Love



Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Official! The Best May Day Ever!


Today I received official word through a letter in the mail, that I have been accepted into the Fine Art Department at Mount Allison University!

I already knew I had been accepted but hadn't actually received my confirmation through letter. I had been called May 14th and was told. I also knew I had been accepted into the BA program sometime ago, and had been sent a letter by mail. I was very emotional that day. I didn't react emotionally when I got the phone call informing I was accepted into the Fine Art Department.

There is something about receiving in an official letter that has a profound effect on me. Today I had another cry and I felt overwhelmed and thought of my mother and wished she was here to share in my joy.

There are many reasons I expect, that I have found myself at almost 56 years of age, returning to finish my BFA degree. It has been something that has weighed on my heart for many years. Mainly I contribute my return to University with the, " Soul Bargin, " I made months back. This I learned about in Deepak Chopra's book, The Path To Love; one of those life changing reads.

I'd promised to write about this in my blog in the recent past entries but it wasn't the right time. Now is the time. However, I am absolutely physically spent tonight after working outside all day in the yard so I will leave this til another entry this week. I promise!

Namaste

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother

Elder's Meditation of the Day
"The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road.... Be dutiful, respectful, gentle and modest my daughter... Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth. No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored, or dead upon the ground. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you."
--Village Wise Man, SIOUX
The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes. We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth. When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle and modest.
Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.

http://www.whitebison.org

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dreams and Reality


Today I am thinking about dreams and reality. I am of the opinion that these two can be defined by a thin line. They are of course closely related and I think dependent on one another in that one affects the other.

During introspective periods, I find myself asking, can I achieve this dream or make it reality or is that a pipe dream. I have to ask is this a positive or negative and how will it affect my life. Am I willing and prepared for the outcome and consequences, of the choices I make that will affect my reality and dreams.

I have learned that it is essential to have dreams to pursue and working toward making them reality contributes to personal happiness and is fundamental to a successful life. As well believing in yourself and your capacities is necessary to take on challenges, obstacles and disappointments that are sure to cross your path along the way. I am an idealist but as I get older I need to feel my feet in reality regardless if I like it or not.

Many elements are involved in fulfilling dreams and hopes. Hard work, commitment, finding and following passions. Sometimes later in life we can come to the realization we have lost touch with what we are passionate about for a myriad of reasons. The good news is we can change this, we have a choice.

I have also learned that perhaps we are unable to achieve our dreams in spite of doing all that we can in order to actualize them. Perhaps we can find that the journey is the important part and when we come to the end, we find a deep satisfaction with what we have been left with, something different, but just as fulfilling, as what the original goal would be.

Today while listening to the radio, I heard a 72 year old woman from PEI that was graduating today, from University, with her BA in English. She was fulfilling a sixty year goal. What an inspiration she was to me. This example speaks loudly and clearly. It truly is never to late to live life passionately, to the fullest and to follow your dreams.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where To Bury A Horse / Don't Cry For The Horses




If you bury him in this spot the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call; come to you over the fall dim pastures of death. And though you ride other living horses through life, they shall not shy at him, nor resent him coming. For he is yours and he belongs to you. People may scoff at you who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his foot fall, who hear no nicker pitched too fine for insensitive ears. People who may never really love a horse, smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them and which is well worth the knowing. The one place to bury a horse is in the heart of his master. - Author Unknown



Don't Cry For The Horses


Don't cry for the horses

That life has set free

A million white horses

Forever to be

Don't cry for the horses

Now in God's hands

As thy dance and they prance

To a heavenly band

They were ours as a gift

But never to keep

As they close their eyes

Forever to sleep

Their spirits unbound

On silver wings they fly

A million white horses

Against the blue sky

Look up into heaven

You'll see them above

The horses we lost

the horses we loved

Manes and tails flowing

They gallop through time

They were never yours never mine

Don't cry for the horses

They will be back someday

When our time has come

They will show us the way

On silver wings they will lift us

To the warmth of the sun

When our life is over

And eternity has begun

We will jump the sun

And dance over the moon

A ballet of horses and riders on the winds

To a heavenly tune

Do you hear that soft nicker

Close to your ear

Don't cry for the horses

Love the ones that are here

Don't cry for the horses

Lift up your sad eyes

Can't you see them

As they fly by?

million whiite horses

Free from hunger and pain

Their spirits set free

Until we ride again - Brenda Riley - Seymore

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sittin' On A Secret?

I haven't written for a while. I've been sitting on a secret of sorts. I've shared it with a few close friends. Sometimes you need to pick and choose who you decide to tell things that are very important to you for your own individual and personal reasons. Trusting in those you can depend on to support you in your decisions, to be positive in their response is essential. Nothing worse than feeling excited about a new challenge and change in your life and direction, then only to get an attitude of negativity, or I think even worse apathy. I'm done with folks like that!

So I am at the point now that I want to share my news. Get it in writing, really for myself. I didn't want to tell anyone until I felt absolutely certain there was a chance for it to really happen. I'm not superstitious, but I think sometimes you just have to trust your gut to tell you when the time is right to let others know what you are doing. I relate this to writing stories that aren't yet finished and you share them with someone. I'm not explaining all the details about this but I know what works for me.

I am proud of myself taking a step that I have hesitated on for so many years now for a few reasons. Some were valid, some were just illusions based on fear and lack self-worth and confidence.

I made the decision about a month ago and started to take tangible steps to actualize what I never really ever thought would ever happen. That decision and action was to return to University to finish and complete my BFA degree I started many years ago...oh I don't want to count how many years ago it has been!

I was in my last year of Art College when the love of my life, my husband, died. We had only been married four months. I wasn't able to complete my degree in spite of returning after being two weeks out of school when this tragic event occurred. When I went back I couldn't do it finding it was impossible to cope with my grief. I was 27, Bill was 26 when he died.

So I am very close to finding out if I can return to complete my degree, as a mature student. I am amazed that I have come to this point, and I can not exactly explain how this has happened but I believe it has to do with following my heart and my passion.

I have a wonderful book by Deepak Chopra, The Path To Love. I have read it and re-read it many times. There is a part in the book that he calls on you to participate in a very important spiritual exercise. This is what I have done over the past year. He calls it a Soul Bargain. I will share this in one of my next posts. I attribute this as a huge part of the reason I am taking steps to return to finish my degree.

I know this... Creativity and Spirit are directly related. Being a life time student is a wonderful thing.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Of The Day


This is a graphite drawing I did from an old photo of an Ouled Nail female dancer, an ancient tribe in Algeria.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No TV Here!


I have been in a bit of a creative slump and haven't had much to write about on here. Spring is soon to arrive and well my Winter monochrome doldrum will lift.


I've been enjoying watching my little garden seedlings grow. They are looking more perky every day. It warms my heart to see things growing in Winter in hopes of planting my garden, which I dearly love.


I have been listening alot to the radio which is my main media these days, no TV for me, in many months now. A lot of positives doing this, not soo many negatives really. It's rather amazing how much you learn and focused you become on your environment when you don't have TV for diversion. It's all about learning for me, balance, creativity, life my environment and learning are all interdependent and related.


I was listening to the radio last week, the CBC call in show, Maritime Noon. It was all about Artists and the question posed was, why Artist's are not given the monentary value for work produced. The average Artist's income is $22,000. I thought wow, if I could make that I'd feel rich! The fellow Artist on CBC said, he and his wife are both Artists and he had the same sentiment, stating that between him and his wife, they make a total of $22,000. This is not at all surprising to me, nor I'm sure, not to most working Artists. There are so many reasons for this, regardless of how Artists contribute to the creative economy. There is now a report that has come out of NSCAN from many within the artistic community and those that support it. Here is the link. http://www.novascotiacan.ca/pdfs/report.pdf

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wowkwis


Wowkwis is Mi'kmaq for Fox

Where I live I see her often and she looks right at me. I love her very much.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Red Road/New Work Today


" Long road winding began in the stars, spilled on to the mountain tops, was carried in the snow to the rivers, to the ocean..."

Kindred Spirits




kindred spirits

like my brother

like your sister

two, more like one

becoming


an understanding language of one another's soul

laughing inside each other's heart

laughing inside our laughter


if I could kiss your lips

sweet of honey on a rose

touching fingertips

washing over us

bringing us to shore

the sea of love

this heady delight, if not love, then what

two, more like one

becoming



catherine meyers

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some Favourite Quotes




















This is "Harry" a painting of an anonymous Hairless dog I did for a friend.


To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong - Joseph Chilton Pearce

Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.- Pablo Picasso

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. - Pablo Picasso

What we play is life. - Louis Armstrong

The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel. Piet Mondrian

The cross is heavy for he who drags it, and light for he who embraces it.

Worrying people don't pray, praying people don't worry.




This a picture I took close to where I live of a little girl drawing a picture of the lighthouse there on a beautiful summer's Nova Scotia day, by the sea last year. I am doing a a painting of her. The beauty of the environment is very conducive to being creative.
















































Groovy Life Changing Books I Have Read!


Don't ya just love that word groovy! Ok...no? I'm stuck in a time warp...

Here's a list of some of the books that changed my life, I thought I'd share with you. Maybe you've read a few yourself and could share them with me?


1. Father's Daughters by Maureen Murdock, she is a Jungian writer.

2. She Flys Without Wings, by Mary Midkiff; a book about women and the connections they have with horses.

3. The Artist's Way, by Julie Cameron. A fantastic and empowering book for anyone wanting to learn more about reclaiming your own creativity and how to follow the creative path. This book truly changed my life.

4. The Hierarchy Of Needs, by Abraham Maslow, is a book I read the first years of Art College, and it helped me to understand the human condition and develop my own personal philosophy.

5. The Opposite Of Everything Is True, by William H. Crisman. This is a book about denial and living with alcoholism. A very powerful book.

6. The Spirituality Of Imperfection. A very significant book to me and the Author, William Kurntz, was the only person non-alcoholic, allowed access to the AA Archives. It is about the power and importance of story telling in helping us find our way. The stories are from a wide range of story tellers.

7. Traveling Mercies, Some Thoughts On Faith by Anne Lamott; she is a unique, wonderfully humourous writer, the book is real laugh out loud read.

8. Bird By Bird, is also by Anne Lamott and is all about the writing process. It is very enlightening and full of practical help and suggestions for those who write.

9. Writing Down The Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. A book about writing and being an Artist. A fabulous book.

10. Becoming A Writer by Dorthea Brande. This book was written first in 1934, in 1961 and in 1981. It is as relevant now to anyone who writes, as it was in the past.

11. Women That Run With The Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, another Jungian...love those Jungians! She is a what is called a Cantedora which means" Keeper Of The Old Tales" and writes all about Fairytales/Fables/ Women's Spirituality. Am amazing book.

12. Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pursig. This book examines Classical and Romantic thought. This was a required reading the first year of my first painting class, with a wonderful instructor Dana Loomis. He was a student of William De Kooning. I consider myself very fortunate to have had him as a teacher and mentor. This book framed my whole experience in Art school and as an artist.

13. The Path To Love by Deepak Chopra. A very spiritually empowering book.


































Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Printcasting

I was listening to the CBC radio show Spark, with Nora Young and found out about this new site that has started, and will be up and fully running to use in 2010.
It's all about enabling anyone to print their own newspapers and magazines using blogs, stories, events etc., on various topics, the average person can write and print about local and special interests. Really an exciting concept and worthwhile learning about. Here's the link. http://www.printcasting.com

Happy reading and writing, Catherine

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thoughts On Newspapers Vs Blogs

I'm been hearing alot lately about the digital online world replacing or threatening the world of print, such a newspapers and books. This is an interesting discussion as I think it helps me to analyze what it is I appreciate about the written word on and off line and to compare and contrast both mediums.


Today I happened to be listening to one of these particular debates on CBC Radio http://www.cbc.ca/spark with Nora Young. Later in the afternoon, I got a phone call from a newspaper office, offering me a good deal on the delivery of their paper, directly to my home. I thought, yes I want to have the ritual of reading the morning paper again! I haven't done that for a long time! I still take time to write letters, and read books, both that I love to hold and behold in my imagination. Once in a while, usually on a Saturday, I love to relax and read the paper and will pick one up at the local store. I had a long discussion with the sales lady about this topic of online vs offline reading, which we both enjoyed as we were both of like minds.

It's difficult to explain exactly why the printed word on paper and the actual process of long hand writing is so important to me, other than the obvious benefit of learning and knowing how to read and write. I can't say I have it all figured out, but I know it feels right and good to me. No computer can replace for me, the ritual of letter writing, nor can it ever be argued that anyone doesn't appreciate recieving a well composed letter from a thoughtful friend, who has taken the time, to think of you, as opposed to firing off a impersonal forwarded email , that warns, if you don't forward this immediately to eight friends, you'll die or grow warts with hair on your neck!

Journeling daily for many years has been a real life changing experience for me. Yes, I do blog but I know my writing is not the same, as when I have time to process my thoughts slower than I can write, as opposed to writing faster than I can think, which is the way it happens when typing. I know this is true for many writers and the reason they prefer to write long hand. Due to this being a slower process, there is thoughtful reflective attention to detail, is very enjoyable and satisfying. The art of good penmenship itself, done with a quality pen; I prefer a Parker, which can be hard to find, can be very pleasurable. I have been often complimented on my letter writing. It is simply a kind, considerate and generous thing to do for another.

Reading the newspaper in the morning, with a good cup of coffee is a good tradition and so much more comfortable than parked infront of a glaring computer screen first thing, in an ergonomic chair. I could never imagine reading a book online, nor see how that could ever
compare to being snuggled in your bed with a well bound bestseller. I love the way books smell and look. Old books have soul, a life unto themselves and are a joy to share with a friend.
Newspapers are wonderful to hold, fold, and take to the loo too!


Lastly, I well tell you, I thought this was exciting to hear, that there are a few new online sites that seem to confirm, what was old is new again, after launching, The Printed Blog and a new site about to come online called, http://www.printcasting.com/

Those involved with these sites have discovered that people are very keen on reading printed blogs, like the newspaper and the process of actually being able to print your own newspapers and magazines for free, will soon be the perhaps the future of things to come.


I am of the belief that the newspaper, nor the book will not disappear but will be revitalized, reconstructed and valued in a new way, that will allow for the average person to be empowered I believe, through the written word, that they can read and write.


So give yourself and a friend the gift of the written word, write a letter, enjoy a good cup of coffee this Saturday morning, along with a good newspaper, and curl up with a good book later on with a cup of cocao on a cold Canadian Winter night! You might find out what you've been missing!

Kind Regards - Catherine








Sunday, January 25, 2009

FYI http://www.art-blogging.blogspot.com

After a few brain farts...I'm a slow learner sometimes; I couldn't figure out how I subscribe to Art blogs by other Artists. So I had a light bulb moment and thought, hey I'll do a search for "Artists Blogs," and see what comes up. Well I found this great site http://www.art-blogging.blogspot.com/ Check it out!

Regards - Catherine

Friday, January 23, 2009

Warm Healing for Winter


This is a painting I did today of my cactus and the figure of Mother Earth found on a Navajo sand painting, my very kind and generous friend from Arizona gave me.

Sand Paintings are so beautiful and are used in healing ceremonies.

I have never been to Arizona but have always been very drawn to the Navajo Tribe.

Just looking at these sand paintings have a healing power for me. I also have one that is called, Rainbow Man. Also, very powerful for creative healing I think.
"Navajo Yeii Spirit - Mediator, harmony
The Yeii spirit is regarded by Navajo's as being a mediator between humans and their creator, the Great Spirit. Yeii's are able to control natural forces in and on the earth, such as day and night, wind, rain, sun and other conditions. The Yei'i'chai - grandparent spirit or "talking God" - is regarded as a special form of Yeii. Their role is to talk to humans and tell them how to live in harmony with all living beings, giving instruction on how best to conserve unnecessary behaviour and actions, instead only using the basics needed for adequate survival. Rainbow Man (sometimes called Rainbow Kokopelli) is the symbol of the achievement of harmony. Depicted as a Yeii commanding the rainbow, it signifies the gift of beauty to all who live harmoniously. It's a positive symbol to have around, especially if you're interested in achieving a more harmonious and balanced state of living. "

At the begining of the month I started seedlings in the house, which gives me a sense of hope and harmony with nature, for the Spring to come, for new life and growth. My cactus plant I started years ago from seed and it is now about 20 inches high. I put the cactus and the sand painting of Mother Earth side but side. They belong together. It is also lovely to have a desert plant growing in the house and makes me think of warmer sunny climates like Arizona and how it would be wonderful to visit one day, to meet the Navajo people and experience the beauty of their culture.
- With harmonious and healing thoughts to you, Catherine