Friday, December 29, 2017

Got the Blues? Time for Some Serious Hygge

Christmas can be and should be a beautiful time, but far to often it's a painful and difficult season for too many. If we can find joy, comfort, love and grace in the simply things it will help to beat the Christmas and post Christmas/New Years blues.

So in between Christmas and New Years is a great time to get your serious Hygge on people! It's been very seriously bone chillin' cold here in Nova Scotia, and across Canada.  It's been the very worst time to loose power or have the motor on your furnace to conk out, which mine did, but thank fully was fixed right away, and I do have a wood stove to keep me warm, thank God.

Every one in Nova Scotia now has had their power restored after four days without it. Power was lost Christmas Day when a big honkin' wind storm hit the South Shore. Fortunately our area in Cumberland County was spared.

I've been putting to good use what I got as Christmas gifts this year, a French Cafe hot chocolate maker, don't forget the marsh mellows! And a traditional English Brown Betty Teapot with a mesh strainer to put your loose tea in, (Dejeerling). Both oh so very Hygge!

When I crawl into bed tonight it will be under a big Queen sized thick flannel red blanket from Portugal that my friends so generously gifted me. Oh boy, coziness squared!

 Christmas Blessings to those who celebrate the old Christmas, and wishing you all much Hygge health in the New Year 2018, and don't forget to bring a little Hygge to someone's life, it might mean the world to them.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Success Doesn't Come Easy

"...success in life does not come easy. It is fraught with pitfalls, obstacles, failure, and mistakes. Success requires persistence, mental toughness and emotional toughness in overcoming these pitfalls. Its pursuit pushes you to the edge emotionally and physically. You must grow a thick skin and become accustomed to struggle if you hope to succeed.
"Individuals who struggle academically may be more accustomed to dealing with struggle and making it a daily habit to overcome pitfalls."

When I read this today, it struck me as being what I am reflecting on as the New year 2018 is fast approaching.  As I take inventory of this year past successes and ask myself what I can do in 2018 to add to these my successes.

The above quote I relate to so very much because I never ever was one of those described "A" students, and based on my own personal experiences I've gained some very valuable first hand knowledge about what success requires and have developed that mentioned thick skin and very accustomed to struggle over my 64 years.

When I attended school in my rather provincial little town, no one had to officially tell me to face that my academic life was lacking and wasn't up to snuff. It was imposed upon students who's classes into separate rankings, labeled the "A, B, and F" class. Needless to say I was in the F class.

Having had it up to my eyeballs with mainstream high school, and in desperation to escape this negative environment were an English teacher announced to her grade nine students she was to teach grammar and English Literature and that she emphatically expressed that she hated English Literature.

And so I did escape to what was then called Vocational School. I decided I was determined to get myself to art school one way our another because I knew this is what I loved.  I determined this was the only way for me to get myself there. In the late sixties, early 70s vocational school was commonly referred to as  "The School For Dummies. In other words those students who were not academically successful, and certainly not University bound.

Success sure is a very relative term and often described within the context and confines of how much money you make. This has never been my definition of the word and money was never the motivating factor in attending University and College for a number if years. I knew I was no dummy but was certainly not in the mainstream wanting to pursue art and creativity in a very non-creative educational system in desperate need of a paradigm shift that proactively enables creativity.

I simply have continued to  pursue what I've always been passionately interested and I have absolutely no regrets in doing so. I love learning and am a life long learner. This is how I mostly define success which should inspire and motivate.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Yes And...

'Qrplt*xk' - Rachel Dratch

I was always crazy for watching and listening to comedians, SNL, SCTV and Kids in the Hall to name a few. I could never seem to get enough and I'm still this way.

People have said to me, on more than one occasion, that I should have been a stand up comedian. As much as I'm flattered when I hear this, I could never do it. The fear of failure would consume me with fear. My nerves would chew me up with anxiety and leave me dead in the water. Unless of course if I worked with others doing improvisation, then I'd be alright, and this I know from personal experience.

I see life as being a kind of exercise in improvisation. Often many of us live by the seat of our pants, going with the flow and being open to saying yes and...

Spending a lot of time on my own growing up, and I quickly learned to entertain myself, making faces in the mirror, dancing and singing. When I discovered I could make my family laugh by "performing" impersonations etc., it really felt good, making me happy and it was a therapeutic activity for me. It was an escape from reality and it gave me an exciting sense of freedom that I really didn't fully comprehend, but I knew that it made me feel great.

As an adult I got to fulfill my dream of becoming immersed in the study of clowning, developmental drama, theatre, and then improvisation and Commedia dell'arte.

Learning about Viola Spolin, a remarkable woman is who was responsible for the beginnings and development of improvisation. This exciting affirmation of my innate and if not subconscious knowledge that improvisation was a powerful tool, allowing me to somehow transform myself, and was enabled by tapping into my intuition, and spontaneity, all active and essential elements to creativity.

Sam Wasson

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lhasa de Sela - Love Came Here

Lhasa de Sela (September 27, 1972 – January 1, 2010)

Last week I was thinking about how much I miss hearing the late Lhasa de Sela on the CBC Montreal show A Propos with host Jim Corcoran. Then, just as I was listening and said to myself it's like she's been forgotten, Jim announced they would be broadcasting the next episode all about Lhasa. I loved Lhasa so much as many did and still do.

I know hearing this re-broadcast of Lhasa was no coincidence. Christmas and New Years is a time when for many, loss comes poignantly into view and it's no different for me.

Lhasa emotionally touches the human psyche with her voice, words and song. Especially when she sings in Spanish, even though I don't understand the language, my soul understands.

The kind of music Lhasa sings is the language of the heart, of loss and longing, and of love.

Love Came Here - Lhasa

There is no end to this story
No final tragedy or glory
Love came here and never left
Now that my heart is open
It can't be closed or broken
Love came here and never left
Now I'll have to live with loving you forever
Although our days of living life together
Of living life together are over
There's nothing here to throw away
I came to you in light of day
And love came here and never left.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Roberta Jane Taylor

I had my first exposure to art classes at elementary school in Toronto Ontario. Two male art teachers had a real influence on me, imparted the idea that art was important. Later on under the age of ten years, I attended a few classes in a hall, while at the beach with a friend's family at their cottage. I don't remember a whole lot about this class other then thinking it was hard, but I was glad to be doing it, because I had a strong desire to learn how to draw.

Later on as a teenager we moved to Nova Scotia. There were no art classes offered in school, and being a creative kid, I sure didn't fit into the stream lined mold of the educational system and felt like a fish out of water.

Then I found out about an art class being offered outside of school with a women that was my best friend's next door neighbour. From time to time we would visit her, and I was intrigued with her being an artist. My friend relayed to me how much this woman loved nature and animals, and if memory serves me correctly I think she once had a pet crow. She also had painted a picture of my friend and her brother playing as kids in the snow and I believe it was entitled, Backyard Incident.

She was an unusual individual, very much outside the norm of small town Nova Scotia. This woman was Roberta Jane Taylor, who was rather introverted and lonely, but nonetheless she lived a very interesting life. She lived for approximately 15 years in New York City where she furthered her studies and worked. I remember being very impressed when I found out from my friend that Roberta had drawings that had been published in the New Yorker magazine.

I attended her painting classes in the old Academy Street School, in Amherst , Nova Scotia for the duration of weeks that it was offered. I was thrilled and we spent days painting a still life, a composition of bowls and a glass bottle. Roberta was very independent, humble, soft spoken, had an unassuming personality, was a good teacher and a wonderful artist.

Yesterday I was really thrilled to find an article entitled Bright Light in the periodical magazine mailed to me every few months, as an Alumni of Mount Allison.

Roberta Taylor graduated from what was then known as Mount Allison Ladies' College where she excelled and earned her a diploma in Fine Arts. Little did I know then, or ever imagine, as I took lessons from her as a teenager, that I would one day be graduating from the same school with my Bachelor of Fine Art Degree as Roberta Jane Taylor, that was now known as Mount Allison University.

A few years before Roberta died, I met up with her again in a residential facility in Amherst. At this time she was completely blind. I was so happy I get to see her one more time, after all those years. I told her who I was, and said how much I admired her, that I was friends with her next door neighbour and she unknowingly influenced me in my teen aged life. Her mind was still very good and she died at the age of 85.

Roberta  Jane Taylor

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Harry Leslie Smith - Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Harry Leslie Smith

Today I listened to a very poignant and touching interview with Harry Leslie Smith, a 94 year old RAF Veteran, who is on a mission to speak out against an unjust society and he has a warning for those of us much younger, that we'd best heed, if we are wise.

Harry Leslie Smith is not only a beautiful soul, but a remarkable man, who has his own Podcast and has written numerous books.

I hope you will take the time to listen to this wonderfully, wise man.

Artists for Gender Equality

Having spent the majority of my art education during the early 70s at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and then again in 2012 at Mount Allison University, my perspective on what it means to be an artist was, and is very much formed and defined by Second Wave Feminism.

 I'm of the belief art has no gender, women should and need to be recognized for the art we create, not because we're tokened 'women artists', but simply because we're artists, no better, no less than their male counterparts.

My peers and I have been long immersed in the same gender equality presented in this film to be released November 27th 2017.

Today I'm even more concerned about gender equality, particularly in the art world, and especially in light of so many women increasingly speaking out against sexual harassment, within the whole world of misogyny, which has historically and insidiously permeated all aspects of our present day culture and society.

I'm so very grateful for the legacy women past, and present contributed to art, and I greatly appreciate that they collectively continue to reflect through their creativity how the personal is political.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sarah Pound

Sarah Pound

I first met and heard Sarah Pound sing, His Eye Is On the Sparrow, at a beautiful Celebration of Life service for a close mutual friend at the Baptist Church in Wolfville Nova Scotia.

This song had been especially requested by our late friend. I hadn't ever recalled hearing it in the past, during my years of attending Church and being in choirs.

Now I'll never forget it, because and I'd never heard anything quiet like it. I've since heard other versions by Lorne Hill and the late Whitney Houston, but they were nothing like this. It was, perfection.

The interpretation Sarah gave was second to none, in the way she lifted each and every spirit up at a time of deep grief, as she poured her heart and soul into every word and note. Safe to say she absolutely touched every one's heart deeply, if not moving us to tears.

To say Sarah Pound is an emerging talent would very much be an understatement, because of her innate natural ability and talent, that she obviously has honed on a professional level. Her passion for singing is immediately apparent and infectious. And so, I wanted to let every body know about this gifted home grown, Nova Scotia musician with the broader public who I'm certain is co-joined with the angels of Heaven.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stephen Fry - Mythos

Pandora - Catherine Meyers

When I heard Stephen Fry talk today on the radio about his new book Mythos , I got excited!

I learned a few things like the meaning certain words and ut was a great interview, but then I found this youtube video of him reading the story of Pandora from his new book Mythos, and I had to share it!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

"Wounded Faith"

Sheila Allan 1955-2017

I've believed in God since I was a young one. A faith that was imparted to me by my dear late mother, for which I'm very grateful.

Having experienced the loss of many of those I deeply loved throughout my life and I don't recall being angry at God. I expect it was because I wanted to see the positive and to find gratitude and meaning within the sorrow. I was never a fan of anger.

Today I was confronted with my anger about my life long dear friends getting sick and dying. It's unfair and made little to no sense to me, and so I found myself angry.

During Sheila's service this afternoon among all who loved her so much, I found myself struggling with the words the Priest expressed, that were supposed to comfort.  Many of my closet friends expressed the same. They felt angry and were questioning why.

After I got home, I reflected. I see anger is a normal human reaction to something that's unfair, and it's in response to not having any answers to the question, why did this happen?

I also now understand, anger draws much more energy than gratitude. I don't want to feed my anger, but I do have a right to it. It's simply a feeling, and feelings pass. And so I choose to be so grateful to have had such a beautiful soul in my life and to have the privilege to call Sheila my dear sweet friend, and she will forever live in my heart.

Here's what Eli Wiesel said about faith and anger. I so love what he said, because it acknowledges that he hasn't lost his faith, but describes what he calls, having a "wounded faith", experiencing anger, questioning, and quarreling with God.

"My faith is a wounded faith, but my life is not without faith. I didn't divorce God, but I'm quarreling and arguing and questioning, it's a wounded faith."

                                                                                        - Eli Wiesel    

Friday, November 3, 2017

Writing a Memoir - Maureen Murdock

Maureen Murdock

As a young adolescent I've always been drawn to writing. Yes I was one of those girls who kept one of those little diaries carefully guarded with the small key. I felt very precious about it. But truthfully I think it was something I felt a certain desire to share it, but at the same time would have been mortified if anyone actually had read my inner most secrets.

My desire to share what I wrote increased in time, as my writing improved, but of course I never thought of myself as a writer, nor even a great reader for that matter, because I had a rather short attention span. But there certainly were books I loved to read. Reading just like writing is a discipline. And within that discipline there is freedom to simply be myself, and to learn how to be the best person I can be.

In my young adulthood while attending University, I learned more about writing out of necessity, having to write papers. Left to my own devices had I not learned to write, I was on the road to failure, in spite of my good intentions but lacking in the skills to succeed in University, that required me to write papers.

I'll certainly be forever grateful for having done so, because learning to write has been so rewarding and a form of self-expression that has greatly enriched and changed my life.

One of my very favourite writers is Maureen Murdock because after reading The Heroine's Journey, that was generously given to me by a good friend. This book was a life changer and affected my way of thinking about who I am as a woman, and opened up my spiritual beliefs surrounding the God of my understanding and the Sacred Feminine.

I believe humans are natural born story tellers, and we all have important stories to tell. Story telling helps to define who we are as humans.

Although I do have three blogs and I get great pleasure out of creating them, my first and foremost way of writing is through long hand cursive writing. I think I could say some of my blog posts are memoir like, but mostly my blogs are tools for learning about creativity and life in all it's forms.

I subscribe to a site about women writers and found this article written by Maureen Murdock about tips for writing a memoir.

  1. Memoir is not an autobiography but rather a selected aspect of a life. No event in your life is too small, but the details are important.
  2. There is a universality to memoirs.
  3. Honesty and Sincerity: Is the narrator authentic? When you are talking about yourself, you are talking about all of us to a certain degree; that’s the universal element. The struggle for emotional truth is central to memoir.
  4. Intimacy: The hallmark of memoir is its intimacy with its audience.
  5. Language in memoir is conversational, everyday, direct.
  6. Humor: Be willing to laugh at yourself, reveal your foibles. We all have them.
  7. Self-Reflection: The essence of memoir is the track of the writer’s thoughts struggling to understand some event in her life. What have you learned from this event?
  8. Character: In writing memoir, you have to make yourself into a believable character. What do you want to know about the people you write about, including yourself?
  9. Scenes: Vignettes, episodes, slices of reality are the building blocks of memoir. Get the reader into the scene with you. What’s happening? Who’s there? What’s the interaction?
  10. Voice and Tense: Start with the personal I (1st-person narrative). Start in the past tense. You are writing about the past in the present. This is what happened then; this is what I know now. You can write in the present tense later!
  11. Purpose: What’s the purpose in writing memoir? Self-discovery, understanding another, healing a relationship, finding a broader perspective, telling a story that must be told?
  12. Have fun!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

My Muckle Wheel

Yesterday a made an unusual and very special purchase that I couldn't really afford, but I felt like I couldn't afford to pass it up either, because I very much doubt that I'd ever have another opportunity like this again.

I feel in my very bones and believe it was the right, once in a lifetime decision that I had to take advantage of, because owning a spinning wheel is something I've wanted for so many years, since I was first exposed to one as a teenager in a spinning workshop, so many years ago.

Always knowing that the price I'd have to pay, it would undoubtedly be realistically way beyond my financial reach, until yesterday! I was able to pay ninety dollars for this spinning wheel, in perfect working order, and probably a turn of the century antique the Great Walking Wheel!

My neighbour in the next village just a few miles down the country road, owned it, but never used this spinning wheel. She had it in her gift shop that she's selling, along with all her inventory. She'd only used it to display the mittens she'd made, attached to the wheel with clothes pegs.

I could never have ever imagined I'd ever be able to find this magnificent wheel right in my own neighbourhood! I'm so very happy and grateful and can hardly wait to get some wool to spin!

"Great wheels are driven spindle wheels and are also called wool wheels, high wheels, walking wheels, or muckle wheels (a Scottish term)."

I feel a great affinity with the spinning wheel and especially with this Great Walking Wheel. It's a metaphor for life really, as it relates and reminds me very much of the three ages of the Moirai, reflecting the lunar phases and the three stages of every human life. They spin, measure and cut in the  Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card.

I have been learning about weaving on a Leclerc table loom that a good friend very generously gave me, and weaving traditionally always began with spinning, and so it's very fitting that I now have my very own spinning wheel to spin the natural wool I choose to use for weaving.

On both my mother and father's side of the family, my grandmothers did very fine handcrafted work, crocheting, lace work, knitting and quilting, which I learned from my mother. I never learned about spinning or weaving other than being briefly exposed to it as a youth. I'm certain my great grandmothers would spin out of necessity and knew how to weave. It gives me a deep sense of connection with them carrying on this fine traditional work.

Photo -

The Great Walking Wheel has been described as being truly enchanting, and I'd have to say I'm enchanted, completely. The photo above is one I found on the great site and it's the same wheel I have, just a much better photo than the one I took of my wheel. As you can see it's a very simple design in form and function. This is the great beauty of the Great Walking Wheel in my opinion.

It's amazing how common textile hand work has been featured in so many mythological stories, and folk lore, especially involving the spinning wheel, which is the oldest form of textile.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Tarana Burke - Me Too

Tarana Burke

Not the easiest post to write and think about, but I'm compelled to do so, considering all the ongoing media attention and outpouring of "Me Too" posts on social media in light of film producer Harvey Weinstein, and the allegations of abuse and sexual harassment made against him by women in the film industry.

I also posted "Me Too", having had experiences of being sexually harassed, and subject to abusive relationships at different points throughout my life.

I don't believe many women were at all surprised all of this came to light. It's what women have been experiencing from time immemorial, systemic, cultural and insidious abuse and sexual harassment, threats and rape. As I thought about this today, I made the historical connection of past cultures, when there once was the fundamental belief in the Goddess, when a woman's body was considered sacred, because her womb was the vessel that held the miracle of life itself. I'm so often acutely and painfully aware this spiritual theology of the sacred feminine, is not held in high regard today. It has been replaced and defined in masculine terms, within religious, cultural and societal institutions. The consequences being, everyone continues to experience the fall out from this abuse of destructive power and control in one way or another.

Such an epidemic within society and throughout the world has reached a pivotal crisis by way of a perpetuated shaming silence, keeping women and men imprisoned in shame, through guilt and all to often, blaming the victim.

Of course it's essential that we stand up and speak out against abuse. Everyone and especially men must take a very proactive and significant role in speaking out against this behaviour.

Today I'd heard Quentin Tarantino make a statement he was aware of  Weinstein's behaviour. He said he was heartbroken and regrets he'd been complicit by never speaking out. We can only hope that in the future those like Tarantino will no longer choose to keep silent.

Women need men to be speaking out against predatory, monstrous and deplorable  behaviours, and those responsible need to held accountable legally and socially. Women also need to be believed, supported and men need to proactively promote change. We're all in this together, and we need to help one another make a better world for the following generations.

Power and control must be replaced with compassion, justice and peace in order to preserve, protect, reclaim and honour the very soul of culture.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sick Boy - Jeremie Saunders, Taylor MacGillivary, Brian Stever

Jeremie Saunders, Taylor MacGillivary, Brian Stever

I first heard about these three beautiful, wise, insightful and hilarious Haligonian young men a number of months ago. Then two days ago they were featured again on CBC Radio on The Current.

Sickboy is their podcast that features interviews and discussions about illness, death, life and lots of laughter. I could say they're inspirational examples, and all the other trope like adjectives that describe those of us dealing with terminal illness, and mortality. But I'll simply say they're great guys who talk openly, honestly and humorously about life and the really difficult parts of it, that most of us rather avoid.

 It's the kind of refreshingly, deep communication that everyone should have, about illness, grief and death in between the laughter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sam Smith - Pray

Laying in my bed every morning before my feet hit the floor, I spend a few minutes of quiet and focus to read from two small contemplative and meditative books that are my daily readings.

Once downstairs my usual routine is to get the coffee, going have a bite to eat and then write in my journal. This morning for some reason I missed the readings and the writing, which for me is kind of like a stream of consciousness and really also like prayer for me.

My radio is always on, because I'm such a radio head and a dyed in the wool CBC addict. When this song was being played, it stopped me dead in my tracks, the song Pray I'd never heard, by an artist I'd never heard of, Sam Smith. I guess I'm either living in a vacuum or don't listen to commercial radio. Regardless I'm now a big fan.

The lyrics touched me. I think many people feel what he describes in his lyrics, about not knowing what to say about the state of the world, or knowing how to express the inner struggles with feeling alone or being in a state of despair for whatever reason.

Reflecting on a time, 37 years ago I felt this way. I was in a quite room with a priest who was trying to spiritually walk with me and the darkest time in my life, when my late husband was on life support in Toronto's St. Michael's hospital.

I told the priest I found it impossible to pray. I wasn't able to find any words, and my heart felt like it had turned to stone. He gently touched my face, the same way my late husband would, who was a very spiritual, tenderhearted and loving man. The priest said to me, the desire to pray is a prayer in itself. In the years to come I read the same thing that the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton wrote in his book The New Seeds of Contemplation. 

There are still times I don't have the words to pray, but I'm comfortable with that because I've learned that the Creator only expects from us the honest desire in our hearts to pray, whether we have the words or not when our hearts feel like they've turned to stone. And I've read that prayer isn’t come as you are; it’s just be who you are.

 “Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone.”
                           - New Seeds of Contemplation -Thomas Merton

I'm young and I'm foolish, I've made bad decisions
I block out the news, turn my back on religion
Don't have no degree, I'm somewhat naive
I've made it this far on my own
But lately, that shit ain't been gettin' me higher
I lift up my head and the world is on fire
There's dread in my heart and fear in my bones
And I just don't know what to say

Maybe I'll pray, pray
Maybe I'll pray
I have never believed in You, no
But I'm gonna pray

You won't find me in church (no) reading the Bible (no)
I am still here and I'm still Your disciple
I'm down on my knees, I'm beggin' You, please
I'm broken, alone, and afraid
I'm not a saint, I'm more of a sinner
I don't wanna lose, but I fear for the winners
When I tried to explain, the words ran away
That's why I am stood here today

And I'm gonna pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I'll pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I'll pray (Lord), pray (Lord), maybe I'll pray
I've never believed in You, no, but I'm gonna...

Won't You call me?
Can we have a one-on-one, please?
Let's talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end
Oh, won't You call me?
Can we have a one-on-one, please?
Let's talk about freedom
Everyone prays in the end
Everyone prays in the end

Oh, I'm gonna pray, I'm gonna pray, I'm gonna pray
Pray for a glimmer of hope
Maybe I'll pray, pray, maybe I'll pray
I've never believed in You, no, but I'm gonna pray

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Giles Clement - Aerial Tintype

Giles Clement

I've noticed a whole lot of young people taking a serious interest and real passion about things old, like everything 60s, the tradition of black and white photos and old school photography that involves disciplined processes, like spending solitary hour after hour  in a dark room, developing film.

There's a serious resurgence happening that really excites me. The adage of everything old is new again I believe to be true, but with a twist combining the old art with the new is mind expanding and inspiring that is carrying on a tradition, leaving me feeling creatively hopeful for the future of art and artists.

Today on what some folks call "The Face Book "I saw this. Blows my mind, involving large format view cameras, Tintype and a drone! Very exciting. Great youtube video about Giles Clement's Tintype photographs, with a great up town funk kinda song!

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Bonn-e-Lass - Egg Tempera - Catherine Meyers 2017

I held off posting this painting for sometime as it was a commission for a friend's daughter to be given to her on her Birthday. The Birthday has come and gone so I'm free to post this egg tempera painting of her late grandfather's Cape Island fishing boat in Apple River Bar.

Before moving to Apple River in 1995 permanently, I really knew very little about this place of rich history of sea faring vessels, majestic beauty and kind folk. A young man who I dated many years ago, when I was just 17 brought me to Apple River and he'd lived in Apple River when he was young as he was from the area. Sadly, he tragically died young.

I never imagined then that I would be living in the exact spot he'd once taken me. What I did know was what a special feeling I had, I'd say looking back it was a spiritual feeling I got about Apple River, all those years ago, that I never forgot, and I'm so grateful to that beautiful young man who brought me here 47 years ago.

In 1994 I ended up going into a real estate office where I knew a good friend who worked there.  Passing by I'd seen a photo in the window of a house in Apple River, and those feelings came rushing back, of the memories when I'd been there so long ago, remembering how what a special place it was.

I wasn't looking for a house and the price was far from affordable for me. I was simply looking for a small Summer spot to get away from my work and paint.

It wasn't any time my friend said to me, "Cathy I know your and artist, and I have just the place for you." She proceeded to show me the photo of the house, located in Apple River that I saw in the window of her real estate office. I told my friend I could never afford the price. She stated if I offered the woman who owned it, a much lower price, she thought she'd take it, and so I did. And the rest, as they say, is history. I've never regretted it for a minute and I love my community, and the way of life is second to none.

My mother once told me our family had relatives in the area that were Rectors, as my great grandmother was a Rector from West Brook, Nova Scotia. The first Rector had settled in the Parrsboro area of Nova Scotia. But I knew of none of these relatives. 

This painting is of the late Clifton Rector's Cape Island boat. I know Clifton was a relative of mine, but I'm not sure exactly how, a cousin several times removed I expect. I never knew Clifton but I heard many good things about him.

There were a total of 14 vessels built in Apple River in the past. It was a bustling and thriving place once, with a post office, a school and a couple of hotels, not to mention a logging mill that employed many men, along with fishing and sailing vessels that enabled folks to sustain themselves.

The vessels and logs would come right down Apple River. This is a picture of the old mill that once stood out back of my place.  

 Once moving here I did find out some of the connections I had in the area, and  it left me with the distinct feeling that I knew this is exactly where I was meant to be. I'm blessed and grateful to know that.

I Am An Indian - Kent Gooderham

"This book is the FIRST anthology of Indian literature to be published in Canada. It has been written and illustrated by men and women who are called Indians, but who think of themselves as Sioux or Salish, Ojibway or Delaware, Abnakis or Assiniboine."

                                                                                                      - Kent Gooderham

Going through boxes of books this month in my garage I found one book that belonged to my late mother, whom I miss so much. I didn't know where it was, and was afraid I'd somehow lost it, after searching everywhere for it a few months back, but I was so happy to know I still had this special book that I'd tucked safely away.

On the inside of the cover my mother signed her name and dated it 1969.   The book is entitled, I Am In An Indian which was first passed onto her when she worked for what was then known as the Department of Indian Affairs. It was edited by Kent Gooderham and Published by J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Limited. I'd searched online for this book a few months ago before I found it in my garage. I wished it was reprinted again, as it's very worthwhile reading.

My late husband was of Cree and Metis heritage. Because of that, and after taking my own spiritual quest and journey over my life, I've found that the spirituality of Indigenous people is what I most strongly identify with now. It makes me feel closer to my much loved, late husband, and to my mother who first introduced me to this book of story tellers, poems, songs, artwork created, told by First Nations themselves throughout Canada.

I Am An Indian may seem dated to some, but it's still very relevant today, if not more so. It was the first hard book copy written the same year my mother shared it with me when I was 16 years old.  It comforts me now to re-read it again, after all these years.

Drums of My Father

A hundred thousand years have passed
Yet, I hear the distant beat of my father's drums
I hear his drums throughout the land
His beat I feel within my heart.

The drums shall beat, so my heart shall beat,
And I shall live a hundred thousand years.

                                                              - Shirley Daniels

"Mary Jane Sterling is a member of the Thompson River (Nteakyapamuk) Indian Band. She wrote the following comment on school life when she was many miles away from her home in central British Columbia attending school in Vancouver Island."

Thoughts On Silence

What am I doing here
Among these strange people
Sitting in these funny desks
Staring at paper?
Oh yes, I am in school.
These are my classmates.
Though they chatter all the time
They are silent now.
Now I can think.
I see a bird flying high in the air.
Maybe it is flying south.
My heart leaps with the bird
Taking a message to my mother.
My mind is heavy, thinking something sad has
Happened at home.
But the birds are singing
Everything is all right.
The breeze has whispered something in my ear.
I hope it whispers the same joyous words to my people.
I get lonely for my family and I especially miss my mother
But I shall see them all soon.
When we meet we won't even touch hands
But our hearts will leap with joy
And our minds will be glad.
                                 - Mary Jane Sterling

Virginia and Gladys by Daphne (Odjig) Beavon

Friday, October 6, 2017

Ai Weiwei - Human Flow

I first heard the name Ai Weiwei during a sculpture class at Mount Allison University, about eight years ago. I was so drawn to this artist because of his commitment to social justice and peace. If there's any purpose that artists serve, it's my opinion, that there can be no higher purpose than this, considering the state of our world, full of racism, poverty and the violence of war.

It's difficult to maintain hope for humanity in the contemporary world, however Ai Weiwei imparts hope by constantly affirming the power of the individual to speak out, and to stand up for truth, by following the open path of love, associated with what is, helping us to try and process what is happening in the world of humanity that's so difficult to fathom and understand man's inhumanity toward one another.

I've heard and seen a number of interviews and documentaries about Ai Weiwei, and each one increasingly moved me. The interview I heard recently on the Current, regarding his new film called Human Flow, is so profoundly insightful and simultaneously disturbing, conveying an intimate and riveting perspective of the reality of 'what is' happening with those who are fleeing war and violence on a global scale, that convicts the conscience.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Social Metaphor

I think OCD causes me to count, and sometimes it drives me a little doolally, but I've come to accept this as part of who I am, and just another personality quirk, and everyone has one.

Because I try hard to walk everyday, trying to get in shape and loose some weight, I've been counting my steps with my pedometer. I don't count calories, stitches, or words unless I need to.

Lately I count days because I'm waiting, for something I'm really looking forward to next June when I'll be 65 2018.

I'm a self-confessed recovering alcoholic now for 23 years. I've heard it was said, the definition of an alcoholic is a person who has to have something to look forward to. I do believe this is true for me. Perhaps this is why I count. I look forward when I come to the end of my counting, but it never seems to stop. One's too many, and a thousands not enough!

My good friend generously gave me a beautiful table loom with all the extra gadgets and gizmos needed, including a book and thread that goes with it to weave. I'm wanting to take it on as a Winter project, which I know means more counting, this time counting threads.

Spring cleaning is not something I do. I refuse to be inside the house cleaning once Spring arrives, but come Fall, before Mother Nature lays down her Winter snowy blanket, I get the strong urge organize, reorganize, and clean, but thankfully this is not where my OCD kicks in! Rearranging and cleaning this time of year is my way to subvert the Winter blues. It never completely keeps them at bay, sure does help. I'm not a Winter fan and never will be, no matter how I've tried over the years.

This morning while going through a bag of papers I'd stored away for whatever reason, I came across something I'd written down, that someone else said. The sentence went like this "the thread of sewing and writing is a social metaphor." I believe it was a quote from Helaine Posner made by Ann Hamilton, and the scholarly article The Poetics of Place.

I'm sure you can substitute sewing with any kind creative handmade artwork.

The line of thought continues to describe how we make things with language and words are our materials, the thread as line and the thread is as a line of writing. It goes on to describe how we are sensory beings and as adults we negate this. As adults we need to go back to being multi-sensory, where we smell the work and experience skin and the line.
I'm sure any kind of creative handmade work could be substituted in place of sewing.

I admit I don't normally smell my work, unless I working with oil paint and using turpentine, you can't help but be aware of the smell. I no longer work in oil, so I rarely smell anything unless my egg tempera paint has gone bad, and there's nothing pleasant about the smell of rotten eggs!

In the past I've loved thick oil paint on canvas and felt the desire to eat it. I admit as weird as this might sound to some,  I know I'm not alone, as I've had other artists tell me they experienced the same thing.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Evan Rensch - Enterprise Faucett Foundry

Evan Rensch - Photographer

During my daily walk I saw a graceful hawk soaring and gliding over the salt water marsh. When I see birds or other wildlife like this, I'm always transfixed and excited to see them. I'm of the belief they are signs or perhaps a spirit animal, especially when seen frequently.

I was immediately reminded of someone in my past that I once thought I loved and had motivated me to create a painting of a Fox and a Hawk. I was later saddened that my hopeful thoughts of love had been dashed. But I dodged another bullet. I'm no longer that hopeless romantic I once was, but I see myself as a hopeful romantic.

Throughout the ages artists are inspired by love and romanticism to create. It can be heart rendering to read a poem about unrequited love, or a spurred lover who's life comes to an end, because of a broken heart. The awesomeness of nature inspires thoughts of the divine when expressed in music or song and the horror of war can be depicted in the view of a camera lens that can haunt with grief and emotion.

Artists can be mocked for sentimentality, idealism or romanticism. That said, I see the role of the artist and art, to  inspire, to move, provoke thought, and even change lives. Not necessarily through sentimentality or by simply making something pretty or beautiful, but through creating art work making us reflect, perhaps even shock, that challenges us to open our mind or causes a combination of several responses, all at the same time.

In 2012 I saw an exhibition of photographs that touched me deeply, made me both happy and sad. I felt loss and a gain, pride in a sense of heritage and personal identity.

Evan Rensch's exhibit entitled Enterprise is a series of matter-of-fact photographs of the workers inside the Enterprise Faucett Foundry in Sackville, New Brunswick. This exhibit at the Owens Gallery on the Mount Allison University campus, brought together a whole community of historically hard working folk, a testament and bore witness to those who have a direct connection to Sackville and to the historical legacy of the Enterprise Faucett Foundry, dating back to the early 1800s.

My late grandfather Roy Winslow Milner was born and raised in a big egalitarian farming family, just outside of Sackville (Westcock). As an adult and he worked hard his whole life at this foundry, as a molder, to provide for his family. To this day I have a number of cast iron frying pans, and decorative items he made while there, and I treasure them.

Sadly my grand dad developed silicosis or what was commonly known as black lung and then lung cancer eventually took his life. It's not much wonder, as there was no filtering or exhaust system in the work place.  My grand father was much more than an iron worker as many all the other workers were as well.
Grandad had a thirst for learning, with two sisters who were teachers, and he was a multi-talented musician, who had a love of the land, growing his own food and a great respect for all animals.

The photograph below was taken by Evan Rensch as part of his poignant exhibition. It is a portrait of my talented and gifted cousin Gary Milner, who also worked at Enterprise Faucett Foundry.

I'm happy Evan Rensch took these photographs that document an era that has come to an end. My happiness is tinged with my feelings of sadness for the workers and their families left without an income after the devastating fire destroying the Enterprise Faucett Foundry in 2012. Etched in the faces of each worker, you can see the personalities and the years of hard work reflected in their eyes, and on their faces.

Evan Rensch has told a powerful story that's imparted a deep appreciation and love of community, within a context of history, and in the tradition of photographers that have come before him, honouring the soul and body, and reclaiming the beauty in the world of the individual, through the lens of the view camera.

Gary Milner

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Autumn Leaves - Beauty

Apple River - Photo - Catherine Meyers

Autumn Leaves - Beauty

When Autumn comes around every year, it's always a little bitter sweet. I experience a multi-sensory, radiant beauty living in the Nova Scotia countryside, where land, sea and sky meet. I also experience a quiet sense of sadness, that comes to the surface. My soul and body will remember the losses of the year(s) that have passed, even if my mind doesn't. I've come to believe consciousness is found in the body.

                                                                   "Beauty is the radiance of truth."
                                                                                            - Saint Augustine

There are many people who share in these feelings with the arrival of Autumn. It's simply part of the Life/Death/Life cycle that we spend introspectively processing how it's all manifested and born out, creating meaning from our experiences.

                                         "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."
                                                                                                                        - Thomas Merton

My heart lives in the beauty of Spring, but I know beauty only visits it doesn't linger.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Harrison Kennedy - " Shame The Devil"

A brand new season of Saturday Night Blues means all new featured guests and music. Celebrating 31 years of this wonderful program is a milestone for sure. I've learned about so many different musicians over the years and continue to learn.

Last night I found out about a fantastic musician singer/song writer who happens to be Canadian, from Hamilton Ontario. Harrison Kennedy gave a great interview with Holger Peterson and it really excited me to know he was buds with Eric Bibb, as he is one of my very favourite musicians. Harrison plays with him often, and wrote a song, Might Be You Might Be Me, that Eric also recorded. It's a touching and very meaningful song about homelessness. Unfortunately I couldn't find it online.

Harrison shared a great story about one of the Neville brothers who first heard him play, and asked someone who he was. When told who he was, and that he was from Hamilton, they then asked. "Is that an Island?" That gave me a good laugh. It makes you realize how much talent is in Canada and how little people are aware of that fact, including Canadians.

We are blessed here in Canada to have such a wonderful show like Saturday Night Blues, with a fabulous and knowledgeable host like Holger Peterson who has done so much to promote Blues musicians in Canada and throughout the world.

Friday, September 29, 2017


My internet server has been down for two weeks but that hasn't stopped me from writing about 16 blog posts, so please stay tuned, I've been busy unplugged!

The Soul of a Culture

"When the body of a woman was equivalent of the body of the Goddess, a woman was the container for the miracle of life.

"The soul of a culture cannot evolve if the body is not reclaimed and honoured."
                                                             - Maureen Murdock The Heroine's Journey

This quote is from the most important life changing book I've ever read in relation to my own creativity as a woman.

I'd come to understand how my mind and spirit are influential to my overall well being, personal health and happiness. And yet I could never make the connection with my body, that I now understand, is the glue and the grounding tie that brings mind and spirit together in order to be a happy, creative person I was born to be, fully alive.

I've struggled for many years to understand this deep spiritual interconnection, until I read Maureen Murdock's book, The Heroine's Journey.

In my 20s and as I got older my weight became an issue, and I then went to extremes in my physical activities. I wasn't able to find a balance. It was all or nothing. I either involved myself in a lot of exercise that realistically I couldn't maintain over the long run, or I did next to nothing, and then watched as my weight increased, my health declined, as did my happiness and self-esteem.

At 24 years of age I was at an ideal weight, perhaps thinner than I should have been, but regardless, I felt fat. Several years later, I saw pictures of myself back then. Suddenly my thoughts came flooding back and I remembered those the feelings I had in relation to my body, and how it didn't match up with the image I had in my mind's eye, or how I really felt about myself. The image didn't connect with what I thought about my body. I came to the conclusion that my thinking was distorted and after some intensive therapy I could see my thoughts were the beginning precursors of anorexic thinking.

It's taken me many years to finally begin to develop my own spirituality and to comprehend just what it means to see myself as the 'container for the miracle of life', and to understand the sacredness of my creativity, body and soul and to know the role I play in evolving 'the soul of culture'.

Today, I can finally say I reclaim and honour my body and I now know the balance and connection between mind, spirit and body and understand just what this truly means.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Clive Hamilton - Defiant Earth and Anthropocene

Mother's Prayers Are Carried To The Grandmother - Catherine Meyers

Fifty two years ago, at the age of 12, I first heard the words The Green House Effect from my best friend's Danish mother. She was a wise woman, and always giving us educational lessons about the environment and health at her kitchen table, and these lessons stayed with me into my adult life.

 Clive Hamilton is someone I heard speak on the CBC Radio Ideas episode yesterday, and frankly it confirmed my ever mounting concern about climate change and the health of our planet, particularly it light of present catastrophic environmental disasters happening throughout the world.

 Have you ever heard the word Anthropocene? Me either. Perhaps I'd heard it once or twice in the past, I don't really recall, but I heard about it yesterday.

I know there are those who deny climate change. Regardless of what we believe, the fact is the overall climate is changing right before our eyes, and we all have to find some way to learn how to adapt and take responsibility for improving the current situation, whether it be pressuring our politicians or proactively engaging in environmental and activist organizations such as Avaaz or Greenpeace.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"The Java Jive"

There are numerous quotes I've read, and even songs I've heard over the years, about the pros and cons of coffee. I mostly stay clear of the negatives and focus on the benefits of drinking coffee. Here are a few of my personal favourite quotes that really resonate with me.

 " A coffee a day keeps the grumpy away."
"  Depresso, the feeling you get when you've run out of coffee"
" A day without coffee is like...just kidding, I have no idea."
" Sometimes I look forward to going to bed at night because I know that when I wake up, I get coffee."

Lots of us are addicted, and I confess I'm one of them.  But I do usually adhere to a limit. I'm not sure if this addiction is the result of nature or nurture, but I know my family members were died in the wool coffee drinkers.

I recall one of my vivid and favourite memories as a kid, was being in the kitchen with my father, who had one of those old fashioned classic coffee perks, and the smell of that coffee was heavenly to me at a very young age, though I wasn't allowed to drink it.

My dad  loved to make my brother and I big pot of a rib stickin' mixture of oatmeal, Red River and Cream of Wheat for breakfast, before my mother got up. We wanted to down our breakfast early before she'd appear, and then we'd fly out the door, as she wasn't a morning person, and consequently was often a little on the grumpy side, before gulping her morning coffee. And I don't blame her, because I understand what it's like not to have my morning caffeine fix, before I start my day.

Hustle and Grind, a blog I subscribe to had a great post about the benefits of coffee, and how it can be used to stimulate creativity, especially when writing.

Here's one of my very favourite jams by the Ink Spots, that I remember from my childhood and throughout the years it's stayed with me close to my heart, all during my love affair with the Java.


Growing up in an great Italian neighbourhood in the East End of Toronto, I identify with comedian Gerry Dee, and his Italian neighbourhood. When he talks about "gofocoff", it makes me think about how I'd so love to "gofocoff" in Italy.