Saturday, July 09, 2016

July Long Adventure

Last weekend me, Delilah, and the boys headed out to Kootenay Plains on the David Thompson Highway for a long weekend camping adventure! Happy Canada Day!

Kootenay Plains is a group campground site that is literally right on the highway, but a lot of the campsites are tucked beside a rocky outcropping (a cliff? a mountain fingerling? I am not up on my geology terms...) so it is quiet and lovely. I mean, look at that view!

Gran bought the boys some dollar store bow & arrows, which all broke immediately. But with a little duct tape, Gran had them all back in commission. Note: this was the most fun thing the entire weekend. Below, you can see Evan in his power pose.

Day two, we decided on the Siffleur Falls hike, which is literally immediately across the highway from us. There are some really steep sections, but the boys were champs! Eventually you hit the gorge, with the river running below. Again, spectacular views both above and below.

My parents! It's been a really long time since we went camping together, so this was a big treat for everyone.

Relaxing with some G&Ts outside the cookhouse. BFF was in Red Deer for work all week, so it was completely amazing to have him come out with us! Also, he is the only one who knows how to set up the

We got one of the campsites that is nestled up against the rocks at the back of the campsite. Popular with rock climbers, BFF, Dad, Lucas & I attempted a skinny little goat path and made it to the top! You can see our cook shelter tucked in the trees at the bottom of the photo.

My boys! They had so much fun this weekend, playing Catan (so many games of Catan were played!), colouring (Evan was carrying this colouring book + a pink felt around for most of Saturday afternoon), chasing each other, making a fort out of the firewood, climbing rocks, and wrestling with Grandpa.

It was my sister's birthday on Saturday, so Evan & I spent some time picking wildflowers to make her a little bouquet! He presented it to her so perfectly, and there were only a few bugs on it.

Amy brought her own cake because she is the smartest person I know.

We actually were invited to be part of a larger group, connected via a friend of my Dad's. Kam (& his wife Jan) are avid mountain climbers, world travelers, volunteers, and just genuinely nice and smart people. I mean, Kam is "something else", but at least 92% awesome. We spent our last night sitting around the campfire with Dad, Kam and their friend Tyler telling dirty jokes.

Other info about this area...
- The closest town is Nordegg, and they have gas and most services. Next closest is Rocky Mountain House, which is larger, with more services. It's a good place to stop for a quick snack or rest on the way down. Saskatchewan Crossing and access to the National Parks is about 20km away. It's nice drive in to Lake Louise or up the Icefields Parkway if you are so inclined.
- This entire stretch is dark sky rated. We had a couple of cloudy nights (and also I was too tired to stay up past 11pm), but the star viewing is supposed to be very amazing here!
- It is BEAR COUNTRY PEOPLE! You have to be really careful with food storage, garbage, etc. Walk in groups, walk loudly, carry bear spray, that kind of thing. That being said I think it's been many years since anyone has reported a bear sighting in the campground.
- There are a lot of informal camping sites along the highway. In fact, you could pretty much pull over anywhere and set up for the night. And a lot of people do. The big lake (reservoir) just to the north of Koontenay Plains (Abraham Lake) is the most beautiful colour of turquoise, and there are always loads of people with their trailers and tents set up on its shore.

BFF & I are already talking about coming back in the fall...

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Language Matters

I shared this image on Facebook this morning.

Tod is my first cousin once removed. He's a cool, smart guy, I like him a lot. But I was uncomfortable with his response to my post, but I couldn't fully articulate why. It felt like a brush off, like a response that people ( get when we are dismissed. Like I don't know why I posted this. Like I need a lesson.

So I replied "Nope" because what the fuck else what I supposed to say in that moment?!

And I thought about it all afternoon. Like I have been thinking about Philandro Castile, and Alton Sterling, and Lavish Reynolds, and BLM TO, and the people of Turkey and Baghdad...

And I wanted to respond. I want to respond.

Thankfully, I was doing dishes tonight so I had some time to think and keep my hands busy. And this is what I came up with.

Language is important, it is powerful. It influences the way we look at and interact with the world and the people in it. And it reveals and protects and reinforces privilege and ignorance.

All I have to do is look at how people portray and talk about (white) male rapists ("lost potential"), or black shooting victims ("troubled history, criminal record"), or throw around the words "crazy" and "retarded" to know how devastating labels are.

Us white people have a hard time with the words "Muslim" and "Terrorist." We tend to equate them: Muslim = Terrorist. We don't tend to label the Christians or atheists who commit terror crimes as "Christian Terrorist". Look at Robert Dear, who terrorized his partner, and his neighbours, and abortion clinics. We call him a "misunderstood loner". We don't equate his religion with his crimes, and we don't paint all others like him with the same brush (perhaps to our detriment, but that's another blog post...).

Any step that I can take with my use of language to combat the inherent racism, discrimination, and intolerance in a word or label, I'm going to do it.

So yes, Daesh calls themselves "Muslims" and says they are doing the work of Islam. But to them I say fuck off. You are unlike any Muslim I have ever known, ever heard speak, ever watched react to their community being destroyed by bombs (and by hate). I refuse to connect Daesh to these Muslims.

And it might just be "semantics" but that is everything.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Big Messy Flowers On Envelopes

I have been painting envelopes because I have no canvases left. And until I sell one, I'm too cheap to buy any more.

Woe is me right? ;-)

Feels kind of liberating to practice on a "throwaway" item. There is no pressure. There is only experimentation and fun.

And because I am still, after all, a dork...


p.s. if you would like a letter from Lisa, email me your mailing address!

Monday, June 20, 2016

I Say This Every Month

Umm, what happened to May?

Reading back through my blog, I discovered that I did not post anything related to my goals at the start of May! Oops?

I did find my April goals post, and I fell in love with it all over again. And I pulled up my April folder on my photo stick and wow....April was really amazing!

And you know what, so was May. And it's over now too! And when I started writing this post, we were only a week into June. And now June is on its way out as well.

Time goes so fast when you're old.
I did cross one of my goals off my list last month. I finally finished relocating my mailbox! I keep taking photos of it, and then deleting them off my phone when my storage gets low and I need to take another photo right away! Sigh. It will show up on here eventually!

Remember this list...I sure do...
I still try to read it every week, but mostly I just try to survive every week. Make sure Lucas is fed and has clean clothes, and get up the nerve to do the dishes.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Big Messy Flowers & Why I Don't Make a Living With Art

I finished painting this last night. I started the flower part months ago, adding on to the ampersand I did up on a whim back when I was still living at my old place. That's how long this has been in the making...

I have a hard time keeping the momentum going when I paint. I start and finish a bunch, and then I get busy at home, or I have an anxiety or depressed period, and nothing gets done. I can't make a living as an artist because I have yet to find a good balance between when I am inspired to do the work, and when I am not inspired but just need to do it anyway.

I could also never make a living at art because so far only my cousins have wanted to purchase my paintings. Family & friends count HUGE when it comes to getting started, but selling solely to people within my limited circle is not sustainable in the long run. And so, here we are. With a $40 painting (a steal of a deal!), 17 likes on IG as of this post (it's pretty & people like it!), I have no takers. Within my little circle or without.

Please don't hear "I give up" in that paragraph. I am not giving up on art, or even an art business. I am being a realist about where I am right now, and where I am working to be in the future. I might not sell a painting to a stranger until I'm in my 80s (ugh, I hope it comes before then), and I'm okay with that. I'm sure my paintings will be much different by then and will perhaps have a wider appeal. I am in this for the long run, even if it is just for myself.

I am really proud of where my art is going these days. I have finally just given in, and accepted that I PAINT BIG MESSY FLOWERS! I've been using neon paint on my recent work, and I love it. And I have been painting beautiful & unique ladies, that are a break from my traditional look, while keeping so many of the same, favourite elements. I'm in a good place, hell, a GREAT place right now, and I am so very satisfied with that.

Now, for reals, does anyone want to buy this painting?