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So, I will be there are 11 am as that will give you time to make your salsa. Have you downloaded the geocaches you wanted to do? I have packed some grapes, watermelon, drinks and chocolate bars.

Plans were made for taking the dirt bike and e bike up to Cornwall Lookout for a ride on a much brighter, warmer, sunny day. Simple plans to spend the day together doing somethings that we both enjoy. I hung up and began setting up the ingredients for homemade canned salsa. I had already chopped the onions and green peppers the night before and now needed to boil water to parch the tomatoes to skin them. Jars were washed and set in the oven to sterilize. Water was on and the smell of chopped garlic filled the air. The smells of the last days of summer. As I got out the utensils, lids and rings I thought about the call with Frank. Hmmm, he totally understands me. He knows I am always up early, and that if I have something on my mind that I feel I need to do I will be thinking about that no matter what else we are doing. He gives me space and time to do those things. Today, time to make salsa before we were to go riding. I sent him a quick text saying Hey! I love you very much and thanks for being you and understanding me. He sent NP……I speak Marcie. I love you too honey.

Simple, respect. Respect for each other and each other’s hobbies, and passions. Respect for our time together and for our time apart. Not our first rodeo as they say. Relationships are not easy, no matter how old, young you are. There are and will always be challenges. We live an hour and a bit apart. I have my home and he has his. We make it work. I go there, he comes here. We met up half way at times for adventures like kayaking, hiking, biking. I have an area now at his place where I can paint if I so desire. My only little cave space. He understands the creative need to paint, create and write. He says I paint with words and have a unique set of brushes. He buys me paints for mother’s day and Christmas, and loves it when I say I painted or wrote today.

Riding has been a new adventure. I have been wanting to try riding a dirt bike for awhile and was looking at one day buying one. During the whole COVID-19 shut down he sold his snow bike and bought the Sur-Ron E dirtbike. When spring thaw (freshet) hit and we were under evacuation alert, Amy and I packed up the animals (fur to fins!) and went to stay with Frank for a week. Honestly, I just could not deal with another crisis alone. It gets pretty overwhelming at times. I can go, go, go and then when the busyness of the event stops I crash. Yep, a wee bit of PTSD from all the not fun events our community has been rocked with. It was during this time that both Amy and I started riding the bike.

Learning to ride has been a fun, and scary adventure. I have had to get over the fear of heights, and of being worried constantly about crashing. There will be crashes. I had 2 on Sunday as I was learning new skills on the back top side of Cornwall, such as taking a sharp turn over a log through water and up a bit of a hill on a decommissioned portion of a hill. I got stuck, over corrected and crashed. Frank was on the other side and instructed me how to lay the bike down to back it up and turn. He straightened the handle bars and I said I wanted to go right back to the top and do it again correctly. Ok, just follow your line. Ok! Up I went, and through. Thumbs up! Away we went to the next obstacle. Each time he was ahead of me and would stop give a word of advice, encouragement, go through and wait for me on the other side. Thumbs up and off to the next. We came up to a steep hill covered in rocks, gravel, wood debris and ruts. Okay, pick your line and follow it. See an obstacle look away from it to where you want to go. Follow your line. Don’t focus on the obstacle or you will hit it. Follow your line. Okay.

Off he flew up the hill and I watched as he easily went around rocks, sticks, ruts, over and up. Alright, here I go. I see my line. I kept repeating follow your line, follow your line. Big rock! Look away and follow your line. I was half way. Follow your line. I was near the top. Follow your line, rock, look away pick your line. And up! Yes, big hill conquered. Awesome, way to go. Then it was the next hill and the next. Finally, we were at the top once again near where there were some geocaches hidden. Off we went to find them. Frank went around the corner, and that is when it happened. I had my first epic crash! Why? Umm, cause I had my phone with the geocaching app hanging off the handle bars when I heard a glass like breaking sound. Grabbed the phone thinking it was broken, hit the horn, swerved to correct, overcorrected and hit weeds and a ditch and over the bars I went mowing weeds with my helmet as I landed. Groan, winded and in pain I laid there. I reached over and pressed the horn hoping Frank would hear it. Nothing. Okay you can either lay here or you can get up, pick up the bike and assess damage to both you and the bike. I laid there for a moment, caught my breathe. I could feel where I had broken a rib before throbbing. My face hurt, my hand hurt, but nothing seemed broken. Up I got. I then burst out laughing. Wow, you idiot. What were you thinking? Good thing you had gear on and hit weeds and not rocks! Missed the stump that was there. I stood the bike up and pulled the grass out of my helmet and off the bike. I straightened the handles bars. I then sipped some water just as Frank came around the corner. What happened? Um I crashed hard. He shakes his head as I said it was phone related. What did I tell you? Phone got confiscated into his back pack and off we went to find the geocache.

I am thankful I was not seriously hurt and that I did not wreck the bike. I learned a lesson that I should have paid more (will less) attention to. Don’t try to multitask when riding. I realized in that moment that I do that all the time. I will be working on one thing as I have multiple other things around me that are also needing attention, be it at the office, studio space, kitchen whereever.

These mulitple distractions that disable me from giving my full attention to one thing and completeing that one task at hand. Yes, it is good to be able to “multitask” but man, is it ever nice to be able to do one thing get it done and move on to the next and get it done. Just like that day. Salsa first, dishes next, pack next, then off riding, then go geocaching – may have walked a wee bit more geocaching.

The trip down from Cornwall was nice. I went a bit slower around the turns but it was smooth. It was a fun ride and I learned alot about biking and had a pretty deep look at myself. Frank is a fantastic teacher and a mentor. He loves riding and his passion for it rubs off. The places we can go and views we can see are spectacular. It is fun, scary and exhilarating.

I really enjoy how quiet the E bike is. It is light and fun to ride. It does have power and goes very well. It can be set to econo mode or sport which give more power. We can go about 60 km before it needs to be charged and it does regen in sport mode going downhill (when brakes are not applied, I am getting there!)

This summer seems to have flown by. We have had some great adventures and although we did not do a camping trip together we have seen some beautiful areas around the region. I look forward to more adventures this autumn and hopefully less fall…s.

Thank you to Frank Craig for being so understanding and so incredibly patient.

Where ever you go and what ever you do enjoy the journey and enjoy the ride!

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Becoming

Quintessential Quip

Becoming.
noun: becoming; plural noun: becomings
the process of coming to be something or of passing into a state.

I love this word. The words beginning with re are needed but a word that encompasses growth, forward thinking, transformation, and transition is paramount at this point. Nothing will get better if all we try to do is go back to how it was, cause how it was was broken.

I would like to move through re. In order for things to evolve I/we need to become who we are truly meant to be. To grow through the uncomfortableness, uncertainty and anxiety of the unknown. This pandemic has taught me many things and the biggest lesson is that it has forever altered my perception of what matters. What really matters.

What is your core? When everyone, and everything has been stripped away who or what is it that you reach out to?

I found my core. I found my base.
I found it by having in 15 minutes my strength dissolve like sugar in water. I went from feeling strong and in control to a vulnerable heap laying on jackets wondering what just happened?

My vision closed in like driving into a tunnel, my hearing started to fade. I felt hot and could not take a deep breath. Left side of my face and left arm went numb.

Thankfully I was surrounded by a team of First Responders.

The care, compassion, and concern that these people showed and gave was incredible. They ensured that I was safe, supported and kept me laughing through a very scary situation.

The ambulance arrived and did an assessment and I was asked what would you like to do. I decided to go get checked over at the hospital. I knew Amy would have all the support she needed as the team/friends were there for her and I. Better to go then when everything was in place then in the middle of the night.

We are so fortunate to have the resources we do. We are so fortunate to live in and near communities that work will together and share resources.

They say there is no I in team. There is an I in community and that is where I belong. To belong in a community is to be involved, to include and invite others, to inspire, bring innovation, and insight for positive change. We need a global community.

It can be so easy to stay the same. To resist change to fight the unknown and to balk at anything deemed different. We are seeing where that is going.

It is not easy to change. To get up off the ground and go forward. One step at a time. You are not alone in this. COVID-19 has knocked everyone on their ass. Add to that floods, slides, illness, anxiety, debt, fire, and self isolation. Nope not an easy time right now.

Atypical migraine. Oh good cause nothing this year is typical is it? I got asked will this be normal for you know? How will this affect you?
Umm don’t know cause it was atypical!? What it has done is put what matters most to the center. It means self care and ensuring matters are always taken care of. It means make sure I always have a phone charger with me!

This has been an atypical year. If it was typical then we would never have the opportunity to discover our strengths and our weaknesses. We have been given an opportunity to make a difference for others and ourselves. Look at those who are outstanding right now. Those who are leading the way. Those planning for not only tomorrow but years down the road. Multifocal view. Those who see a problem then find and seek solutions.

Now is the time to shine a light and not cast a shadow. Darkness steals hope, light brings life.

Tired? Me too, but everyday I plan to get up and carry on towards a brighter tomorrow.

I would like to personally thank all the first Responders who assisted me Tuesday evening. I would like to thank friends, family and the team I am honoured to work with and for.

Becoming.
Yes, I will.
(Already a book by Michelle Obama).

Take care of you.

Bumblebee On Sage

Brighter Days? It is up to you!

#seedsofTomorrow #sunflowerselfie #artroutegold #thesunflowerproject #blossomBC #DestinationGoldCountry #exploreBC #sunflower #freedom #COVID18

https://www.thesunflowerproject.ca/

As I ponder my purpose through prose I pause on the power of the proficient sunflower.

The soulful beauty of the seed that is contained within a tough hull that awaits with contained positive energy to be planted, watered so it can germinate and then to burst forth with the warming of the earth it is in encased in. It will slowly rise into the beckoning blue sky and rays of the sun. As the stalk climbs higher the leaves begin to unfold and spread out to capture the droplets of sweet smelling rain and the heat of the sun. The blossom begins to unfurl giving way to vividly coloured petals that attract bees to pollenate the flowers, providing succulent pollen for the honey they are producing. The energy of the earth, rain and sun then are absorbed and the flower begins to create seeds that will become food for birds, people and animals. Some seeds will be gathered and stored, some will fall to the earth to start the cycle again and others will be shared.

The sunflower is a symbol for and of the people. The people who longed for freedom. People who need to find shelter, food, water and light. Away to draw into the earth and paint a vivid portrait of a hopeful tomorrow. As we walk further away from each other mindful to keep a distance in between let us not do that with our hearts. Let social distancing be something we do not and not who we become. This is truly a time for all to shine. We like the sunflower can grow, give life and be bountiful. It is a choice. Even in the toughest times and you feel you are in a hole it is you who decides stop digging further. You decide when to put down the shovel and look for away up. Quite certain that if you ask a way can be shown and a ladder lent.

The hardest place to be trapped is in one’s mind because that you take every where you go. It is pretty hard to get away from you unless you resort to other influences. The true you. Who is that? The sober, real you. Scary isn’t it? It is not easy to begin the healing process. To take the necessary steps to become the you you were meant to be. We wear so many layers. Protective coatings to keep others away emotionally and mentally. A harsh word, a tough demeanor, withdrawing away from loved ones. Easy to push others away. This seems to make some feel powerful but what it truly shows is their weakness, their hurt and their pain.

Looking in the mirror into my own eyes and staring at and into my reflection I too ponder who am I really? How many layers of protective gear do I wear? I must to fight fire. I shouldn’t need to just to live my life. We become consumed by self judgement. We become absorbed with who may be or may not be talking about us and how we can change that. Guess what? You can’t. All you can do is forgive yourself, forgive the others and carry forth. Climb your ladder one rung at a time. Up, up until you are out. Change is never easy. It can be down right painful. It can also be beautiful. Just look at nature. A caterpillar must transform to be a butterfly, a tadpole must change into a frog. Birds must learn how to use their wings. A baby has to learn to roll, crawl before he/she can walk.

Why when we are older do we expect everything to be the same. Day in day out with no change. How unfullfilling would that be? Change is coming whether we are ready for it or not. What you do with your today will determine how your tomorrow will unfold. Sow seeds of hope, gratitude and forgiveness and this is what you will harvest.

THE SUNFLOWER PROJECT

If each just plant even just one seed of hope what a difference that would make!

MASTER ARTIST MICHELLE LOUGHERY

http://thesunflowerproject

As an artist there is a responsibility to speak of the times, challenge the status quo and to bring your art to a greater good.

There is a time to be quiet and a time to speak. In these times we must adapt and use the skills and talent given to us to pave a new road. In my career I have managed multimillion dollar budgets and worked with politicians and celebrities.

But if I was to die of Covid tomorrow it would be the people of my projects that I would miss. The artists, the underdogs, the non profits, the youth and the elders, and the small businesses that graced me and my crazy projects with their support and love. Like the sunflower we are all connected. We have strong roots and glorious faces. Faces of hope. I come from good stalk! The projects that were graced to…

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In the Midst of This

It is the strangest sensation to read a social media post saying that your residence is under an evacuation alert. For me there is a split second of no, this can not be happening to what do I need to do to make sure we are safe and ready?

Not only are we in the midst of self isolation, social distancing and an interupted lifestyle due to the COVID-19 pandemic but now let’s throw in the highest river/creek levels in 20 years for good measure!

Last Wednesday, we First Responders were called out to a house fire that consumed two structures. It was brutal. This week flooding.

I was at the office when I received a notification from social media that something was up, and things were progressing. A friend messaged me a news clip of an announcement of an evacatuation order for the Village of Cache Creek. I immediately looked it up and it was for the east side of the community. We are good, I said. Then my phone pinged again. I was in the midst of an email and thought something does not feel right. I looked up the notification to see that our mobile home park was now under an alert.

I called a friend and she immediately said you need to go home. Yes, I do. Put the server up high and go. Right, I said. I did not think of that. I looked around my office and the other vacant rooms and moved all hard drives onto the desks, and made sure all cords etc were off the floor. Boxes of paperwork were placed as high as I could put them. Doors were closed, equipment shut down and out I went grabbing the portable office equipment as I left.

Breathe, go to ESS and touch base. Call daughter make sure she is aware and okay. Ask her to begin packing essentials for her and her pets. No panic but we need to be ready to go. Okay she said.

That was it. No questions, no drama, just okay. Why? She is 15 you would expect a teen to react, right? Not my children. They respond and they respond immediately. Unfortunately, this is not her first evacuation, sudden move or relocation. She knows exactly what to do. Sigh.

I went to the ESS center and saw some familiar faces. Sad with being in self confinement for the last few weeks that one can not even go for tea with a friend; however, there she was. She said I probably won’t see you later. Okay. Is that because you won’t be here? No, we may need to have another arrangement. Okay, I said here is my plan. We are going to the farm with our pets. We are packing and will be ready to go once the order is given. In that case, she said check in here before you go. The assistant chief was there and said Marcie, with you being under alert you are not expected to show up if we get a call. Your daughter is your priority. Thanks for the reminder, I said. I am all she has here, and she is my first concern. He nodded. I said as I was leaving and I hope not to see any of you later! We all laughed in acknowledgement.

Miss my friends but this is not how I imagined I would see them. Again shoulder to shoulder, boot laces to boot laces on the front lines filling in the cracks with sandbags to protect our firehall and our community into the later hours of the night the evening before as the creek was rising and now the situation was escalating enough to put a large number of the community on notice. Okay, not quite shoulder to shoulder due to social distancing but you get the point.

ESS – Essential services. The first ones who are in contact with displaced residents. They are the front line to the emotion, heart break, frustration and anxiety of the community. Unfortuanely, they also tend to be the last to know of any changes, or shifts in response. I have been there and have done that. Not easy at all. We are so fortunate to have an amazing ESS leader and team. They are volunteers and in the last few days have put in many hours, and then also need to tend to their own families, work responsibilities and commitments. Volunteers are heroes. Without community volunteers there would not be a community.

In the midst of this there are so many emotions, reations and responses. We react, respond, laugh, cry and occasionaly implode. This is not easy for anyone. This yearly freshet that descends upon, through and around our community can and does bring out the best and sometimes worst.

We live here, we see it and we know. We get shovels, bags and sand ready. We fill, pack and work together.

We work together. There is no time for woe is me, if only, why is this happening drama. You move, you do, you go. There is time for reflection after. If you can not be of assistance then you know to move out of the way and let those we can, do.

Occasionally, there are those who immediately go to complain, and critique mode. It is just a coping mechanism. You learn to tune it out. You have to. There is to much to actual do to assist to listen to or read the melodrama.

Then there are those who grab their shovel and head to the sandpile and start shoveling. They put their concerns and energy into forward moving action to help. To help. They get involved and they help. They safely assist when and where needed.

They are heroes. These community warriors who do what they can, when they can to be there to assist no matter what. These are the people I enjoy spending time with. The doers. We thankfully have many doers in our community and in our neighbouring communities. I know I may be a single parent but I am not and never feel alone. Messages of support buzz on my phone. Calls of comfort and care ring the line. Nope, not alone.

We are packed, we are ready and we have a safe caring place to go.

I chose the image for this as it is the first vegetable we harvest each spring. My parents taught me how to find and harvest it and I have shown my children and a few friends. Asparagus is a sure sign that spring is here. New life, growth and renewal. The water we are receiving now brings life with it. It allows the fish passage to return to spawn, it provides nutrients to plants and restores the earth. We need the creeks, rivers and streams. We need to be careful during this time to keep our distance and to take care of each other. The banks are unstable and the current is predictable.

As mom used to say this too shall pass. As we wait for it to do so what shall we do to help and not hinder?

Be safe, and if you can stay home do so. If you need assistance or someone to talk to call someone.

Your are not alone. You may feel lonely during this time, I know I do, but I know that a friendly voice is just a call away or down the hall.

FIame On

Inflamed

As I pulled into the driveway I was welcomed by the neighing of horses that were grazing in the field. They nickered a low, greeting and slowly sauntered over to the fence line to meet us. My daughter, who is an avid horse lover walked over to receive their warm welcome. As I made my way through the gate I was welcomed by the artist, Michelle Loughery.

She greeted me and gave me a personal tour of her studio, home and yard.

I was immediately struck by the peacefulness of the surroundings, and of the crisp, cool air that enveloped the land. The horses watched as we wandering about the property. She showed me painted buoys from a project she had collaborated on, and each area of the property had a story waiting to be told. I could easily envision children playing here. The sense of tranquility was soothing to my soul. As we entered her studio I smiled to myself. Her paints, waxes and canvases lined the counters, walls and floor. What a creative sanctuary! It was so inviting and a sight to enjoy. I felt very fortunate to have been invited there.

I gave her something. I was actually hesistant but she received it with the feeling that it had been brought in. Gratefulness, thankfulness and friendship.

It was one of my last jars of dill pickles, made from my mom’s very own recipe. She popped the lid and I had to laugh as she used the ring just like my mom had taught us to do. She took a bite and commented on how good they were and asked about the recipe. What was it that made them different?

Pickles. Pickles are as personal to me as creating a painting. It is the time to harvest, pick over and of selecting just the right ones, then to wash, rinse and pack. It is the thought of gathering the ingredients, the washing and sterilizing of the jars, lids, rings and tools. The picking of the dill, cleaning of the garlic, and selection of the right size of cucumbers for each layer to hand place in the jars. It is the preparing of the table, counter and sinks. It is a process, a right of passage and a journey. That cucumber that started as a mere seed with so much energy stored inside had to be planted, watered, have the sun shine down, be picked, packed and then brought home to be scrubbed then packed into a jar with many other cucumbers. Brine needed to be cooked, made from water, vinegar and salt then poured onto the cucumbers, garlic and dill. The jars are then sealed and placed in a hot bath in the canning pot for several minutes. The jars are then removed and set aside for weeks. Weeks. These are not instant pickles. This is not a quick process. It takes planning, thought, production, action, and then waiting. Some jars may not seal. Some may crack from the pressure. The brine may not have the right amount of ingredients to make it tasty. The pickles themselves may become soft, white and unpleasant if the process is not successful.

We chatted over pickles and then she led me to the heating element that had coloured bees wax warming. She took a wood frame that had layers of wax on it and asked me if I wanted to try it. I did. It was out of my comfort zone. My art work is not so spontaneous I found. When I paint I tend to develop a plan as I go. Hills here, trees there, sunset here. With the wax it was layering, scrapping, melting, and turning. The more I tried to make something appear the less it did. Let go she said. Let go of all that is holding you back. She handed me a burner, and showed me how to light it. A blue flame appeared and I let it just kiss the wax slightly. It hissed a little from the particles within the color and residual left over from other pigments. It crackled a little. The colors began to swirl and move. The appearance was altered but not burned as I would have thought. With encouragement, which is her way I added more layers, more tones and scrapped in texture. It began to build. I was still caught up on making this to be something. To look like something familiar. Something familiar so I would not feel so out of my element. Michelle took the time to listen and chat with my daughter Amy. We soon discovered that her lovely mare Apple has the same genetic background as Amy’s horse Cheyanne. They are some how related do to the stud Impressive. It was quite amazing to realize this. Amy noticed Apple had a very similar build and way about her. She even has similar markings.

I continued to work on the painting. Realizing how controlled and uptight I am we took a different approach. I needed to let go of the pint up feelings I was experiencing. We are both of Ukrainian descent and as we talked we discovered a lot of commonalities with our upbringing and our relatives. I shared a story about my grandmother that is hard to talk about. As she listened she brought over some colour and poured it on the piece I was working on. She instructed me to put on some gloves and use my hands to move the liquid color around. I could smell the scent of it and smiled. Guessing at what might occur but not fulling understanding the process.

Now, she said, I want you to light this on fire. What? I am a firefighter! This goes against all I have been trained to do. There I was, standing, holding a torch and being told to burn what I had been working on. Very carefully, I let the flame kiss the fluid layer. It crackled to life and blue flames arose. It was incredible to see. There was no way to control it or to select the route it would take. It just came to be. The flames enabled the inner picture to emerge and take it’s own form. The result was amazing. The flame enhanced the creation. The flame became the creator. It was stunning.

After the flame diminished and the wax cooled down Michelle showed me how to take paper towel to rub the wax. This brought out a shine and polished it. It was such a moving experience. I had to truly let go of any preconceived notions to truly allow creation to come forth. If I tried to force it or overwork the piece it would just smolder. If I just stopped doing or trying and let it come out itself it leaped from the board with a life of it’s own.

It was an experience I will never forget. The smells, the visuals, and sounds all leaving a lasting imprint. Forever changing how I perceive creating a piece. That moment when I was justifying my thoughts and actions and she said just stop, breath, and let this go. Flame on. Flame on.

Thank you Michelle Loughery for seeing past the what is there, to what can be. To have the insight into the future and through the layers. There is a dream, a legacy that has already been written and as the collective we need to let go, and let it rise. Stop trying to control how it should look, and how one thinks it should be.

Stand back and it let it become. Flame on.

And don’t forget to bring pickles!