Monthly Archives: June 2018

Oh, the Merman!! (44/365)

He’s still there at the Banff Indian Trading Post!!!!! Just got home after leading a Ghost Walk in Banff, which followed a full day of writing and editing. Half fish, half human, this little dude haunts my childhood memories and today when I popped in to say hello he transported me back across the decades to the first time I saw him so long ago…

No doubt he will now follow me into the world of dreams…

Photos Only for a Few Days (43/365)

A LOT going on here at the moment – so much, in fact, I forgot an important birthday today!!!! SORRY!!!!!!!!!

 

IMG_4846.jpg

Raindrops on roses… 

 

For the next week or so, I will likely be reduced to posting a photo and perhaps a piece of somehow related artwork but without much writing to go along with it. Sorry about that, but you know – life can get in the way of blogging sometimes. (Two apologies in as many paragraphs – how very Canadian!)

 

Lucien Freud girl-with-a-kitten-1947.jpg!Large

… whiskers on kittens… (Girl with a Kitten, by Lucian Freud, 1947)

 

The last time I forgot a birthday, btw, was the terrible year I forgot my only child’s birthday. That was bad. She reminded me in the horse paddock while I was making her help muck out. She was not amused. Horse manure removal and sacred birthdays do not, apparently, mix. A couple of decades (almost) later, she is still not amused and reminds me of this black incident when I dare to say anything along the lines of, ‘hey, I wasn’t the worst mother in the world…’ And then she counters with, ‘what kind of mother forgets her only kid’s birthday?’ Not that it would be any less awful if I had forgotten one of six children’s birthday – then, I can just imagine, there would have been accusations of favoritism. “I knew you never loved me as much as the others.”

We Know Better Now (42/365)

A very long, very busy day again – so today I’ve gone into the archives for a couple of quick photos in the ‘hm, good thing we don’t do this any more’ department.

IMG_4488

Back in the day, feeding wildlife was a thing… I think I even read recently  (can’t think now where) that long ago people came to Banff to feed the bears! That seems like an eminently stupid thing to do, but then, when I look at us (that’s me and my brother, Peter) feeding the bighorn sheep, that wasn’t too smart either.

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

 

PC216120.jpg

This Big Horn buck is mounted and hung at Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. I’m not sure of the stats regarding trophy hunting and how popular it is then versus now, but I can’t say I understand why anyone would hunt just for sport. I’m not opposed for hunting for meat as long as one does so in season and following proper game management protocols but as a source of decorations? Um. No. 

And, yes, probably somewhat less dangerous but also not a good idea is the chipmunk-feeding craze we enjoyed as kids. I loved the feel of their tiny, delicate claws every so gently scratching the palm of my hand as they would take an offered peanut. They were pretty brazen (I think this one was on the top of Sulphur Mountain) and would sit back on their haunches, cheeks bulging and enjoy their feast.

 

IMG_4516

These days I have quite a different relationship with the little monsters. They know when climbers are busy belaying and can’t chase them off, so they blithely crawl all over our packs, chew holes in food bags, and generally make a menace of themselves while we are distracted.

They are still cute, yes, but I have a lot less patience with them now and have no patience whatsoever with people who feed them and make the problem worse.

 

charles m russell big-horn-sheep-1904.jpg!Large

There’s a dramatic painting by Charles M. Russell, c. 1904 called Big Horn Sheep… It’s the males that have the full-on horn curl going on. 

 

And that, as they say, is all she wrote…

Anybody else want to confess they used to feed the animals? As in, a long time ago before we knew better? I think there’s a statute of limitations on such misdemeanors (though today, there’s also a hefty fine). If you are a current offender, perhaps best you keep your head down and stay quiet.

 

Treadmill, Sutures, and IKEA (41/365)

Oh, my – what a day! Started out very early without any breakfast (you’ll see why in a minute), some writing, then a trip to Calgary where I had a cardio stress test. No panic, but over the past few months I’ve been getting a little light-headed when I exert myself. Unfortunately, that usually happens either when I’m biking or tackling a harder climb (or, on a long hike in to a crag somewhere with a pack full of climbing stuff strapped to my back). I doubt it’s anything too serious, but we are getting it all checked out to make sure my ticker isn’t likely to explode  when I’m hanging from a cliff somewhere.

 

walter sickert 1922 study-for-the-wardrobe-1922

Study for “The Wardrobe” by Walter Sickert, 1922 (you’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute…)

 

 

Walter Sickert 1924the-wardrobe-1924.jpg!Large

The Wardrobe, by Walkter Sickert, 1924

 

The cardio thing was long and drawn out – first an IV (for the dye – hence no food after midnight last night), then hooking me up to a zillion leads to give an accurate idea of what my heart was doing when I was loaded onto a treadmill and told ‘keep going.’ Fearing I might come flying off, I gripped the safety bar until my knuckles turned white. As you can imagine, my heart rate was soon way up there and the kind woman who was charged with making sure I didn’t keel over before we were done took my blood pressure every 60 seconds and kept asking, “Are you dizzy yet?”

After all that, I was put into some sort of scanner and the dye injected into my vein, and they took 6 minutes worth of pictures of my thudding heart. There followed a CAT scan and after that, a 3.5 hour break during which time I was STILL NOT ALLOWED TO EAT!!

I was, however, allowed to go to IKEA. Which we did, right after I swung by the endodontist who tortured me so thoroughly last week. They yanked out my stitches and sent me on my way.

This virtual mosaic is titled, “Postmodern Study for The Wardrobe.”

At IKEA, we procured a couple of big wardrobe things in an attempt to deal with TOO MUCH STUFF in our bedroom/office space back in Canmore. Then it was back to the cardio torture place for another scan after which I was released and told to go have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After a stop in Cochrane for groceries, we eventually got home and immediately began to assemble the basic frames of the wardrobes.

IMG_8249

As far as we got with the wardrobe project before our teenager demanded we turn down our music and stop with all the banging already… 

Tomorrow, I have to write in the morning, but after that we’ll get onto the finesse items like shelves and drawers, at which point we can tidy up!! Which will be lovely. More photos to follow… Meanwhile, though, here are a couple of paintings of bedrooms…

 

vincent-s-bedroom-in-arles-1888.jpg!Large

Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1888

bedroom-in-aintmillerstrasse-1909.jpg!Large

Bedroom in Aintmillerstrasse, by Wassily Kandinsky, 1909

Perhaps, once the wardrobes are finished and installed I’ll have a go at drawing our newly decluttered bedroom…

 

 

More Mask-Making( 40/365)

All I have the strength the post tonight are a few photos from our mask-making session earlier today… The rest of the day was filled with writing, singing, rehearsal… an early start tomorrow and another long day ahead… hopefully a bit more time for a proper update…

Romeo and Juliet – Part 1 (39/365)

Pretty much the whole day spent at rehearsals for the Canmore Theatre Festival. I assume you are all coming!! If not, here’s what you will miss… except with music, and dancing, and great hippy costumes, and amazing acting and a TREEHOUSE!! Yes, really.

IMG_4793.jpg

With a party and a war, all kind of happening at the same time. Can you say fight choreography? And then, across a crowded room…

IMG_4790

That thing happens between two people… it doesn’t make any sense. The parents think it sucks. But… the line gets crossed. I can’t draw that part because it’s sort of x-rated and this is a more-or-less PG blog.

Did I mention party? Hippies? Yeah, well – drinking, drape-smoking, stabbings can’t be far behind… Uh-oh. Tybalt doesn’t fare too well.

IMG_4791

Romeo takes off… leaving his beloved Juliet behind… This can’t be good.

IMG_4792

Juliet reacts as one might expect and rapidly sinks into a spiralling pit of despair (no idea how to draw one of those…)

So does Romeo… but to see how it all turns out, you’ll need to keep reading the blog (or, come to the real show, which will be in 3-D with actual live actors, even the ones who die… which, in this case, is quite a few of them).

Sad News in the Bow Valley (38/365)

IMG_4777.JPG

Yesterday while Fabio and Joe were climbing Tonka (a multi-pitch route on Tunnel Mountain), I was in Banff working on a couple of articles and putting together material for Ghost Walks. At one point as I was at the car dropping off a costume I’d procured from the Thrift Shop, an ambulance tore up the road with lights and sirens going. Not long after, a Parks Canada vehicle also raced up the road. Both vehicles turned up Tunnel Mountain Road. I’d driven down that road a bit earlier after having dropped off Fabio and Joe.

IMG_4616

Of course, my mind jumped to the worst case scenario. Rock fall? A miscommunication? Had something gone wrong? Were they ok? I texted to see how they were doing and … no response. That was a long 15 minutes before I finally had a reply saying they were fine and had just reached the top of a pitch where they could do things like answer texts. But, from their perch high above the Bow Valley, they were watching a helicopter and emergency vehicles in action. Something was going on but they weren’t close enough to know exactly what.

We heard today that another climber a little farther along on Tunnel Mountain had been in an accident. Sadly, the climber didn’t survive.

Nicholas Roerich 1939sadness-two-in-boat-1939.jpg!Large

Sadness (Two in boat), by Nicholas Roerich, 1939

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the accident victim. It’s always a sickening shock to the system when one hears of someone being badly hurt or killed in a climbing accident.

This evening as I turn in for the night I see the stark black silhouette of the mountain peaks outside my window. They are beautiful, to be sure, but unforgiving. Stay safe out there, my friends.