Monday, August 14, 2017

La la la FairyLand

With guests visiting on the weekend, I took a turn at playing tour guide. One of the places we visited was nearby Redwood Park. Not only is it filled with many magnificent trees, it contains some important elements of Surrey's history.

A more recent addition to the park is one visitors often come upon by surprise. I knew the fairies often paid their respects, but I was surprised at how their little village has grown.

Considering how much nasty business has gone down during the past week (and especially on the weekend), it felt safe and idyllic in the forest with its fairy town.

Now, if only the rest of the world could be this calm and peaceful.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Hot times

The past while has been our version of a hot spell -- nothing like many would consider hot (trust me, I was in Kansas last month, and it was HOT there). Temps here on Wednesday made it up to 30 degrees, or for anyone south of the border, 86.

But what a great excuse to curl up with a book and read.

I've been doing a fair bit of that this summer -- whenever I can manage some quiet time. I'm pretty sure I'd have to say the best book I've read this season has been Ivan Coyote's memoir, Tomboy Survival Guide. I'm just about ready to say that this should be required reading -- for everyone. Its messages, though not always easy ones, are important; besides, it's also a fun read, with plenty that made me laugh out loud alone.

A read that's less fun, but one that feels important in another way is a book I recently re-read. One of those (don't you dare roll your eyes) post-apocalyptic novels, Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven. Food, clothing and shelter -- for sure. But hey, you've gotta have art.

What cool books have you been reading?


Monday, July 31, 2017

Destination nowhere?

Even though it was way last week when I attended a panel presentation at the Surrey Art Gallery, I'm still mulling what sort of enlightenment it was supposed to bring. And sadly, I'm still not feeling any more enlightened now than I was then.

I'd understood that the topic, "Reflections on Canada" would offer some kind of vision on what contemporary Canadian Art is, and where it might be going in the future -- especially now that the hoopla over Canada 150 has eased.

The roster of presenters seemed pretty terrific -- a potter, a poet, a musician and an artist. With this in mind, I expected a diverse view of 'art-now'.

Unfortunately, not all of the presenters were there to talk about Canada. One seemed most intent on ensuring we understood she was not 'of Canada' while another spent much of the time displaying a personal C.V. of accomplishments. And as for discussion, there was hardly any. The bulk of the evening had been eaten up by some of the presenters going overtime. Moderator, where were you? Hello...

I was -- and remain -- curious about what constitutes Canadian art. Even in the limited area I know best, literature, it seems to be all over the place.

But maybe place -- the very place each of us stands upon -- is as far as any of can go, whether in understanding or in making art that might (or might not be) 'Canadian'.

Whatever, next time there's a panel on what seems to be a specific topic, I hope it will in some way deliver more on that promise.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What puts the 'festive' in Festival?


For a festival to truly live up to the meaning of the word, it must celebrate a thing or an event. The festival I've just been to takes place every year and the 'thing' it celebrates is a person, Amelia Earhart.

The Amelia Earhart Festival has been a tradition in Atchison, Kansas since 1997, and every summer it seems to only grow bigger and more exciting. This year's festival certainly bore that out, with the town of her birth attracting too many visitors for me to be able to count, though I know that at least one came from as far away as Spain -- and another from Ukraine -- to attend. Truly, a 'round-the-world' celebration!

Although it doesn't officially start until Friday, tradition dictates that the celebrating starts with Thursday evening's fundraiser, an old-fashioned ice cream social. There's an assortment of homemade pies and cakes, plenty of ice cream (at least four flavours to choose from), colourful sprinkles to scatter over top.

Dramatic performances, author readings, a speakers' symposium --  even a carnival of rides in the downtown area -- mean there's something for everyone. Flight aficianados had plenty to be excited about this year, as the airport in Atchison is now home to the last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E, twin to the plane Earhart flew on her last flight. "Muriel" (named after Amelia's sister) is the gorgeous machine pictured above.

And another of this year's highlights had to be a slide presentation by Ann Pellegreno, who successfully followed Earhart's round-the-world circuit in 1967 -- fifty years ago. History alive!

Plenty of visitors come to the Birthplace Museum, where they took plenty of photos of the many articles there that belonged to Amelia and her family.

Culmination of the weekend is always a spectacular display of fireworks set to music. I got to sit in a rocking chair for this, surrounded by friends old and new. What a time!
video


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sunny sunflower for Kansas


It's the state flower of Kansas, the place I'm off to for the next few days. Just the littlest bit of research reveals that Kansans take their state flower seriously -- there's even an ode to it!

I suppose, to be sure I can get back home again, I should take a pair of ruby slippers along. Since I don't have any with jewels, these little red shoes will have to do the trick.

If nothing else, they make me feel happy when I wear 'em.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Rollin' into Stardust

Once upon a time, going to a roller rink was its own kind of social media -- or maybe social milieu would be fairer.

Surrey's Stardust roller rink was just such a place. Even its slogan offered an invitation: "Where meeting people is half the fun!" Only now, after many years (and who knows how many round-and-rounds of wheels), the Stardust is saying its last farewell.

Today is the last day the rink will be open to skaters, with a kind of finale event tonight.

I was surprised to discover that there is no entry on Wikipedia for the Stardust rink. I hope that this will change. One of my best memories of the place was a Grad fundraiser at the school where I worked. We had an all-night skate, or 'Roll-a-Thon' where parents and friends sponsored us to skate from midnight to dawn. Tiring, but fun -- with even a fair bit of money raised for the cause.

The building will be replaced with a 55-storey building, but I'm sure there are more than 55 stories with their origin this particular heritage site.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Summer dreams

One of my favourite summer pleasures is sleeping outdoors. The cool night air fills my lungs, freshening them and refreshing me.

No tent this year -- at least not yet -- just a long couch nestled beneath the cedars.

Morning birdsong is so much better than hearing an alarm. Watching the gradual lighting of the sky so much calmer than turning on a light switch.

When I woke here, I lay still for quite a long while, just taking in the possibilities of another new day.

Looking at the greenery above me, it gave a whole new meaning to the concept of a canopy bed. Such sweet dreams lying under the real thing.