Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mistakes, I've Made a Few. . . (Of Sketching and other Endeavours)

Because we're in temporary quarters for the summer, my tendency to orient towards goals of productivity is in danger of being seriously thwarted. I know that this can be a good thing. Slow down, smell roses, feel sunshine, dance like no one's watching, all those process-saturated moments. Let go. Let go.

But we are what we are, and fighting that can turn process into product as well, the goal this time being self-reform, ticking off boxes for Relax This Morning, Ten Minutes. . . .

I have, definitely, been slowing down, putting many projects on hold until we are once more in a home that will support them with space and organisation and ergonomics. To fill the time that's left to me each day, I've been running and cycling more (although doing less yoga, unfortunately, because I haven't yet sorted the reinforcements I like to keep my practice going -- regularity of private time in enough space to get on the mat at home and the comfort and challenge, both, of a studio that works for me). I've been reading more. I've been trying to blog more, although with mixed results admittedly.

I've also been happy with my continued commitment to a portable project I added last fall, that of language acquisition, and I'll chat a bit more about that in a short post very soon.

What I'm using this post for, though, is to lurch my way back into another activity that could be sustaining, that was, in fact, sustaining me in my need to make this time work for me (and yes, I know that insistence is fraught with problems, but indulge me, would you?). I'm talking about my very rocky pathway to get in touch with my "artistic" side. I put that word in quotations because it's so simplistic in this overused trope that I've tended to accept, since grade school, of those who simply are artistic (and in this use, the term often gestures clumsily at the visual arts) and then the rest of us who rely on stick figures if we're pushed to draw for a board game, but otherwise say we "can't draw or paint because we're not artistic." As if that magical ability were simply conferred at birth.

No doubt there are innate talents, but I discovered a few years ago (through a weekend workshop with my friend, a professional artist and teacher) that I could develop enough illustrative chops to make me happy. Since then, I've played with paints, even taking a watercolour course where I learned that a roomful of women, all more "artistic" than I, so much more accomplished with pencil and paintbrush, were almost as hesitant to claim the word for themselves but, inspiringly, had all made art-making as a process part of their daily lives.  Somehow, their occasional, even regular, frustrations with what they created on paper or canvas impelled them onward. They found joy in the process even when they weren't thrilled with the product.

That course ended just before winter last year, and then life went a bit sideways with the packing and the listing and the selling and the moving, but once we got settled here, I managed to start up a five-minutes-a-day sketching habit, which often stretched to ten or fifteen minutes, and which I took outdoors a few times, once even joining with a local Urban Sketchers Meet-Up.

The sketchbook, pencil,  eraser, and a few pens were easy enough to keep on the table in our small apartment, but I began to feel some pressure to work paints back into the mix. So one day -- July 9th, says my illustrated journal -- after I'd sketched some beets we'd brought home from the market, I looked at those jewel-coloured vegetables, their ruby globes below and rippling emerald foliage above, the strawberry-Twizzler stems yoking the two, the weird terminal decoration of those hairy rat-tail roots  . . . I looked at them and decided it was time to get my colours out. My tiny travelling paintbox doesn't take much room, but then I needed a glass of water and room to set out paintbrushes.  Artist's sprawl was underway, but Pater was very tolerant, and I mixed and played and slid reds and greens and blues onto the page, letting each section dry, coming back every so often to admire and to adjust and to check readiness for the next colour's application. . .

It was all going along quite swimmingly, in fact, and I was rather pleased with myself. The painting itself I have no illusions about. Even had I got around to adding some veining to the leaves, it lacks depth and vibrancy and I know I could benefit hugely from having a more experienced artist give me pointers. But these were recognisably beets, and I'd created that recognisability all by myself. My "artist" self had, and I was happy for/with her.




And then I flipped back to bask in more satisfaction, wanting to survey what I'd recorded over the past several weeks. . . .only to find that my paints had soaked through the preceding two pages, ruining the quickly sketched portrait of Nola I'd been pleased to make as we sat together with pencils in hand a few days earlier. ugly red blotches marring not only that page but insinuating their wet way through the journal. "Rookie move," I berated myself.  You should have remembered that the paper that comprises a Sketchbook won't stand up to much soaking. In fact, as I started flipping through the pages, I saw that I'd made a similar error last summer.

Which meant, as I returned to the damning and simplistic wisdom of grade school, that I truly wasn't "artistic" at all. Even though I've learned how foolish, how incomplete, how constraining that dictum was, how much it deserved to be questioned, it sent me right back to my side of the room. I packed the paintbox away, and somehow the pencil and Sketchbook were banished as well.  The tabletop was clear again.

For two whole weeks, it was clear, but enough is enough, right?

So Monday afternoon, I wrote this post, and I decided I would finish it with a commitment to getting my sketchbook out again, adding another page to my illustrated journal, re-establishing a five-minute sketch habit again, reclaiming a tiny patch of space for my "artistic" self. Pater and I had plans to cycle out to Burnaby Lake, a nature preserve about twenty kilometres from us, and I knew I'd be tired enough to make anti-sketching excuses by the time we got back. The solution, of course, was to bring the art materials along, and once Monday's post-writing was done, I packed the black-bound, coil-ringed book into my bike's jaunty neon-green wire basket next to a pencil case full of pencils, pens, eraser and sharpener.

I will admit that even with this commitment, I second-guessed myself at the site. Not only was there the inevitable self-consciousness about outdoor (public!) drawing, but I kept rejecting possible subjects as beyond my abilities. I tried sketching a pathway lined with trees but erased it in frustration at the difficulties of perspective and so many planes of foliage.  At that point, to be honest, I started to pack the whole kit-and-caboodle away, scolding myself that I should be happy enough with the cycling and with being outdoors -- why complicate the day by trying to do things I don't have the talent for.

But Pater intervened. Reminded me that I just had to find something and sit with it for five minutes. And I guess that gentle shove was all I needed. After all, five minutes? What else would I do with five minutes that was so important? And who would expect much from a five-minute sketch? Anything I got on the page would be held to a pretty relaxed standard, right?

I surrendered, then, to the five minutes, and I focused on the pair of song sparrows hanging out on the rail fence bordering the walking path. They flitted and preened and turned and sang and fanned tail feathers far too much for me to feel responsible for any accurate, recognisable representation. Instead, I watched them, soaked up their appearance, their behaviour, their movement, all the while my pencil moving as quickly as I could. At first, yes, I was trying to get a likeness, and yes, I was annoyed at the first switch of position, the head-turn that made me abandon my first attempt. But then I decided I could simply go with this, just get a series of bird-wisps on the page. I'm going to show you, but the images won't look like much, won't mean anything to you -- to me (and I remind myself that's who my journal is for) they recall not only the antics of my fine feathered friends, but also the temperature around me yesterday morning, a bit cooler where I stood in the shade of the woods than just a few feet away in summer sunshine. The images conjure the smell of the dank mud nearby where the lake is receding in the summer heat, the brighter notes of green leaves and blackberries ripening on the vine. I recall the various species of ducks we saw -- the ubiquitous mallards, of course, but also the rarer, delightfully painted wood ducks, shovellers -- the Canada geese, several long-billed dowitchers. And the sounds of those fowl, their clucks and quacks and splashes.

Because five minutes of sketching is not really about the product itself. Rather, it's about the process, not just the process of putting pencil lead on paper, but the process of observing in order to draw. Or rather, ideally I think, of just disappearing into observation and recording as being, one with breathing or something zen like that. . . . Whatever. Probably best not to analyse it too much at the moment. It's still rather delicate, rather tentative for me. I'm nowhere near suspending judgment as I'd like to be. But for five minutes yesterday, this was me. And the world. Together, on a page. . .
 You'll probably wonder about that mustard-coloured splotch -- another casualty of my clumsiness with materials a few weeks ago. I decided I'd use the page anyway, and just let the old mistake meet the renewed efforts.

 So that was yesterday's sketch. Today is another day, and I've made sure some sketching will happen by arranging a meet-up with a fellow sketcher. Motivation, but also a bit intimidating as she's an accomplished artist, and my inner editor -- far stronger a character than my inner wistful artist -- is sure to begin making comparisons quickly. I know, though, that she's also encouraging and very creative and open in her own art-making, so I'm going to do my best to trust to process. I'll let you know how it goes!

Meanwhile, since your comments on my recent post affirm the usefulness of questions in generating a conversation, let me ask you if you've ever let a childhood conviction that you aren't "artistic" dissuade you from putting pen or paintbrush to paper. Or, instead, how have you moved past doubts that you could learn to do something you've always wanted to do? Play a clarinet, knit a sweater, learn a language, grow a gardenia, throw a pot (not at someone, but in a ceramics studio!), ride a horse. . . . Just popped back to add another prompt for our conversation: have you any tips for how to make sure the new project continues, to keep the learning going in the face of discouragement and doubts? But the conversation doesn't have to begin or end with these questions, of course. All (but the nasty!) comments are welcome, and if you just want to leave a "hello" that's fine as well. . .

Thanks to Eleonore's comment, below, I've been reminded of Diane Athill's words, in her wonderful memoir, Instead of a Book, wherein she describes learning to paint, in her 80s. She refers to earlier generations who took the acquisition of basic drawing and painting skills for granted, not worrying over whether they were "artistic" or not. I quoted a paragraph or two here, if you're interested.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Monday, Markets and Gardens (and the teeniest smidgen of Melancholia)


 Double birthdays in our family today -- our oldest daughter and our son (the last-born) have shared a birthday since she was nine. Neither of them are available to hugs, and texting doesn't quite cut it. I'm "feeling some feels" about that, but at least it will add some fodder to the post I'm working on about communication technology and its changes. And one of our families flew back home today from a two-week vacation with the other grandparents way across the country, so there are cuddles to be had in town again. All will be well. . .
Garlic scapes: these are wonderful if you can find them. The sweetest, gentlest garlic taste -- we had them in a pasta last night along with fava beans. Mmmmm!
 And we're halfway through this in-between stage of our big move, with only five weeks before we move into our new home.  As busy as I've been lately exploring and enjoying the city's possibilities, filling my days determinedly (sometimes a bit too) with activities I deem worthwhile, I often wake up with an amorphous, elusive emotional queasiness that I lie quietly with, trying to identify. Something like homesickness, as I remember that sensation from visiting my uncle, a Jesuit priest, in Glasgow when I was 14, traveling on my own so very far from home, being settled in with a family he knew whose daughter I'd become penpals with. . . .
 Now, of course, I have my husband lying asleep beside me, two of my adult children and their families an hour away by foot, and so I chivvy myself out of bed and into the kitchen to make tea and stop being silly. . . . By the time the pot has steeped my Irish Breakfast tea leaves to adequate strength, I'm online and distracted from the feeling by whatever news is on offer.
 But in case anyone out there is similarly going through a move, big or little, I want to acknowledge that dawn homesickness, for want of a better word. Quickly, I also acknowledge that mine is a very fortunate position, that I have security and love and citizenship and financial stability, all the good things. I have the physical and emotional and intellectual and social wherewithal to get past any fleeting unhappiness and even the occasional more persistent sadnesses. All is going very well, truly, but part of "going very well" includes reality, and reality includes, well, you know  . .
 Saturday morning's chivvying got me past the cup of tea, though, and up the road to the Farmer's Market again, this time with Pater along to carry our finds. I left him there to stand in a few line-ups and went walkabout with my camera, among the market stalls and then around the neighbourhood. I'd forgotten how lovely this is, with the restored heritage homes so effectively complemented by infill architecture, with charming pathways connecting streets. Easy to forget that just a block away are apartment buildings of various vintages, but even those higher-density blocks are softened by so much foliage and the cheery colours of street gardens.
 Today I'm meeting one of my sisters to treat her to a (belated) birthday lunch. Pater has a significant birthday at the end of the week. Another daughter had hers a couple of weeks ago. And end-of-July, on the island, always coincided with a weekend of festivities around the Bathtub Races (yes, really!), so we usually had the kids and their families back for at least one of those events, often every bed in the place full and a tent set up for overflow. I loved it! And I guess this spate of summer birthdays is reminding me of all that, and I guess that despite my determination to move forward, I'm looking back just a bit.
 There's so much that is absolutely right about this move, and I know we made the right decision. No regrets, and I've not got much patience with indulging any tendency to be nostalgic right now.  I do get ambushed, of course, wondering about "my" garden, remembering the very precise feeling of the rounded cap of newel post at the bottom of the staircase, the finish worn off the oak in spots by 20+ years of family hands going up and down.
 But that's not safe territory to visit, at the moment, since it's a land of no return. Better to look forward on the path, and I generally do without huge effort. I suspect, though, that it's just enough effort, cumulatively, to fuel those early-morning moments.
 A wise friend pointed out to me on a walk together recently that it's barely a year since I retired, and that much of that year was taken up by real estate planning and listing and then by moving.  Her contention was that many would find the retirement alone enough to adjust to, without the addition of a big move and change in lifestyle.
 The logical extension of her observation, of course, is that I continue being patient with myself. It's absolutely okay to feel a bit out-of-sorts, a little unsettled, first thing in the morning. And then to get out there and see what good I can find and do.
 On Saturday, that was a walk in the neighbourhood, all this joy and beauty within a 15-minute walk.
And if that weren't enough, Melanie mentioned me AND included a photo of the outfit I wore to Absolutely Fabulous the other evening. Check out BagandaBeret for some Fabulously Glamourous outfits -- at best, mine might nudge Casual Glamour but honestly, in that amazing company, I did feel rather as a wren might in the company of peacocks. . . . Melanie also included that photo in the most recent post of her Vancouver Street Style blog, Culture Serf.  I'm tickled to be featured there as it's where I first discovered Melanie's great eye quite a few years ago.

No question for you today, but thanks for your response to last posts question about questions. It seems that overall you appreciate this practice, and if it helps facilitate the conversation here, then I will happily keep it up. But for now, I'll just tiptoe away and leave you to say what you want on this Monday morning. May it be a week well begun for you!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Fabulous Friday! OOTDs, New Glasses, and New Friends!!

I don't imagine you've been waiting with bated breath to find out which pair of frames I chose for my new glasses, but if you don't follow me on Instagram, you won't have seen the photo which reveals my choice.

I'll give you a clue. . . the colour of the frames goes very well with my recent tendency to wear blue, as in these OOTD photos from the weekend (yes, once again I'm taking advantage of a hotel mirror whose lighting is so much better than what we have in our temporary quarters).

 By now, of course, you've guessed that the frames I chose were the ones behind Door #3 in this tantalising post from last week. Yes, they're more conservative than the others, but the shape still has elements of the newer trends without my worrying that it will date too quickly -- at the cost of my prescription, that's a very important consideration -- and I absolutely love the colour.

One of the first to see these new frames IRL is the Absolutely Fabulous Melanie, of the Absolutely Fabulous Blog, Bag and a Beret. Melanie generously thought of me, a new Vancouver resident looking for friends in the city, and was Absolutely Fabulous enough to invite me to go to a movie last night with her and a friend. . . . Have you guessed which movie we might have seen?

Yes, and it was Absolutely Fabulous! To be honest, I didn't laugh anywhere near as much as the row of younger women beside me (this theatre does assigned seating, and by the time I purchased mine, online before the show, the ones near M were already sold). Seriously, I'd hesitate to sit on any of those theatre seats until they'd had a chance to dry out because I'm betting some laughed until they, well, you know, challenged their bladder beyond capacity.  I've never seen an episode of the TV series, but I suspect that the movie would be even funnier if you knew all their characters, recognised some of the in-jokes. Never mind, there was plenty to chuckle at, and spotting all the fashion-world celebrities appearing as themselves was fun as well (not knowing that world terribly well, I know I missed a few, but Jean-Paul Gaultier walking the beach with a metal detector? That was pretty cute.

Just as entertaining, of course,  was checking out the Absolutely Fabulous outfits of the audience in the lobby before and after the show. I'm hoping Melanie posts on this, although there wasn't much opportunity to take photos afterward. I managed to snap this quick Selfie with our celebrated Fashion Blogger and Sometime Model who was, of course, attired Absolutely Fabulously. (In case you're curious, my garb was comparatively conservative, chosen from what's available in my very curated, temporary-digs wardrobe: I wore a long black v-neck sweater over a gold silk-satin maxi skirt with Angelina Jolie slits -- the thigh-high slits on both sides of the front-centre panel give it a worrisome tendency to disappear between my legs with the slightest encouragement from the wind. My walk across the bridge to the show and back home again may have had enough Wardrobe Malfunction to warrant its own marquee title. . . .

Melanie and I are planning for a longer visit soon,  and today I'm hanging out again with another new Vancouver friend I met through social media. So the friends-in-transition project is ongoing and rewarding and I'm ever so grateful to the blogging community, to the technology which makes it all possible, and to the open generosity of those who are willing to make room for new acquaintances in the middle (and late-middle, in my case) of our lives.  More on that soon -- I want that conversation to continue, and thoughts are slowly becoming words which are slowly getting written. . . .a post before too long.

Another conversation I want to prolong is that around communication technologies, particularly as they're used in families, with a focus on how they're changing and have changed our interactions, whether in terms of access; or frequency, or timing and rhythm of use; or content. There is already much to mull about, much to nod our heads in recognition or raise our eyebrows in surprise at differences, over at my most recent post, and I'm hoping more of you might find time this weekend to chime in.

For now, I will leave you with this photo of Melanie and I and my new glasses. If you don't yet know her blog, I can assure you that it's a thoroughly entertaining, Absolutely Fabulous source of inspiration, as well as being an instant mood-lifter.
I mean, look at those smiles -- are we having fun or what?! May your weekend bring you at least some of this happiness!

(Afterthought, as I attempt to round off to a fine finish here. May I ask you all a question? How useful do any of you find those questions we bloggers generally try to end with? You know the ones I mean, the kind designed to invite your input, the kind to prompt your comments. . . Sometimes they feel a bit too directive, a bit too forced, maybe even a lot too formulaic. . . I'm often tempted to abandon them. And yet I value, beyond what you will ever know, the feedback that happens here, and if those questions help build conversations as rich as the ones I've hosted lately, then I will keep trying to dream them up.  Let me know if you have any thoughts on this. Otherwise, just respond as pleases you (as long as you're playing nice!). . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Communicating, Now and Then. . .

It's not just because I've (temporarily, I hope) run out of fuel for writing new posts, but also because I've been looking back, as I enter this blog's tenth (yes! I know!) year, at earlier posts to track the differences and similarities between Then and Now.  When I began blogging in July 2007, I had been teaching at my university for a few years, having completed my dissertation two years earlier, and my reason for beginning Materfamilias Writes was to wrest some space for thinking and writing about the quotidian domestic life that academe tends to ignore, if not try to banish all signs of. . . .

I've started scrolling through those early posts; they set a direction that I'm still roughly following nine-and-counting years later, even through recent changes to my everyday life such as becoming a grandmother, retiring, and, now, moving to the city. And I've come across a few whose topic I think is still worth discussing, almost a decade later, especially now that my audience is a bit larger. If you don't mind, I'm going to send you back in time to read one such post today.

The topic is twofold: the post is partly about changing communication technology, but particularly as that concerns the way parents keep in touch with their adult children, with the added fillip of interest being introduced in the notion of "disturbing the kids."  I'd forgotten having written this, not surprisingly, and I realised that posting it now would be the push I needed to write about something I've been thinking about ever since I got back from Rome this past February. While there, trying to communicate with my husband by text, email, voicemail, and occasionally a live phone chat,  I started thinking about how technology has brought us so much closer in so many ways than when I traveled in my late teens (I once telegraphed my parents that I'd missed my flight home from London to Vancouver -- my English relatives had a phone, but no one even considered making a transAtlantic phone call, not in our budget in '71).

And yet, I thought, newly returned from Rome last February, it can take a while to get responses to those texts and emails and voicemails. Pater was pretty good at working around the nine-hour time difference, but once upon a time I could have woken him up if I really needed to talk. Now, he usually leaves his cellphone in the other room, sound turned off.  And the kids? Hmmmmm. So much harder to reach out and touch someone these days. . . .Or at least, there's considerable vetting involved in that connection. Much tougher to "disturb the kids." To understand that phrase in this context, you'll have to go back and read my earlier post. I'll be waiting to hear what you think about it, and then next post, I'm going to share some examples of the way technology does and doesn't expedite connection in our family along with some worries I have about the screens we all put up in the communication stream. . .

Until then, the mic is now yours. I'm listening. . .


Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Miscellany: Baby Curls, Book Read-Along, and an OOTD

I'm behind on responding to comments (although I've read them all --thank you!). You'll understand, I know, when I say that the weekend was focused on this little one

who would scarcely stay still long enough for me to show you that we might have another curly-head in the family
Pater and I caught the early ferry back home today because I'm meeting a friend for lunch. Ours is a friendship forged in grad school, solidified through surviving doctoral dissertations together. Naturally, then, I'm thinking more about friendships and transitions and hoping those thoughts become a post soon.
Meanwhile, though, I'm also planning a Read-Along of Elena Ferrante's novel, My Brilliant Friend, the first in her Neapolitan series of four volumes. Let me know if you're interested in joining in. The plan is to begin in September, and the conversation will happen over at my reading blog. Details to follow soon.

And because there was a not-too-bad mirror set-up in the hotel, here's a gratuitous What I Wore shot
I'm off now. I hope Monday's being good to you, and your week is off to a good start.

 

 
 

Friday, July 15, 2016

of Hikes and Views and Frames

We're heading out of town for the weekend, visiting our son's family on Vancouver Island. Before I go, though, some shots from yesterday's hike up Grouse Mountain via the aptly named trail, The Grouse Grind.
That's Pater just ahead of me, two other hikers ahead. Even on a weekday, beginning at 10a.m. the trail was steadily busy, although nowhere near as crowded as it can get on a sunny weekend.
This sign says: Looking Good, Human! Humour and encouragement were both welcome and necessary -- it's a demanding climb, if technically easy enough. Steady elevation all the way--I was giddy with relief at an almost-level 10-foot stretch of Boardwalk about halfway up.... (If you'll be visiting the city and wonder if this hike is for you, check out the Grouse Grind website's FAQ to get a sense of fitness level required. Worth noting that the 2.9 kilometres covered rises 853 metres.  Or 1.8 miles and 2800 feet -- someone has counted out 2830 steps to climb it, so an upward foot with each step. They don't call it Mother Nature's Stairmaster for nothing!)


Much easier to descend, with splendid views of the city below...

Yes, we took the gondola. In fact, descending by the trail isn't allowed, for which my quads were very grateful....

Today's outing was much easier, physically, but not without its challenges. 

I think I've chosen, but I haven't ordered my new frames yet. Back in this afternoon for an appointment with the optometrist. All will be revealed...

Meanwhile, I wish you all a pleasant weekend. Any special plans? ( I keep forgetting to mention that If you're looking for a movie to watch, Pater and I very much enjoyed Maggie's Plan)











Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Let's Take a Walk Through Stanley Park . . . OOTD: Denim Skirt, Black Sneakers, Black V-neck. . .

 Five minutes from our apartment in Vancouver's West End, we're on Sunset Beach, heading along the SeaWall route to Stanley Park.  A comfortable walking temperature yesterday, barely 20 degrees, grey drizzle occasionally, pleasant enough although most of us are ready for a bit more heat and sustained sunshine -- after last summer, though, we know to be careful what we wish for . . .

Meanwhile, the cooler temperatures and the regular watering seems to be keeping the plants happy. Blooms everywhere, colour to counteract the grey skies. . .
 Bees were abundant on this large plant -- a bit of online research (using its purple thistle-like flowers and large lower leaves as keywords) tells me that it's Burdock, an invasive plant considered noxious in many areas for its effects on livestock (burrs tangle in their coats, causing health issues, market viability) and for the crowding-out and shading-out of native plants by its large leaves and compact growth. It is beloved, however, by enthusiasts of wild edibles and of medicinal plants. And as I said, the bees seem to love it.
 From childhood, I've thrilled at every sighting of the Vancouver Police Department's horses . . . I've spotted the mounted police three times in the last few months -- this shot, of the horses picking their way across the beach,  is only one of many I took as Pater waited patiently.

But eventually, the horses were out of sight, and we veered away from the beach, into the park, following one of the many trails through the forested area. A few giants are left to remind us what once was here -- today's park is only a pale echo of the deep green world the Coast Salish people moved through (if you're at all interested in the park's history, Jean Barman's Stanley Park's Secret is a great resource). Still, that pale echo is enough to deepen breathing, slow heartrates, and broaden perspectives -- and we're into this green trail within 30 minutes' walk from home.

 I'm just going to be quiet now and let you look. . .
 Except to say that Pater wanted to prove he "could so" take decent OOTD photos for me. . .
 and
Vince sneakers (which blistered my feet again! but in a new spot and yes, even though I slathered my feet with Body Glide -- my feet swell in any heat and I might have been quoted a shorter distance round trip than the 10K we ended up walking); tissue-weight merino V-neck, also Vince; Mother denim skirt. and the ultra-practical small, lightweight M0851 bag.
 Thimbleberries! These (Rubus parviflorus) are so much more flavourful than salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis), and they have an interesting texture which I really like --
 Whoa! That man is really intent on getting some good shots of What I'm Wearing. . . he saw me taking photos of this huge tree trunk and insisted I get in there to provide a sense of scale . . . and honestly, it might be one of my favourite What I Wore shots ever. . .

 But it's time to hush again, and just look . . .
 We made it to Beaver Lake, our goal for the day, before heading out of the park for lunch at our favourite Korean spot. . .

I hope you enjoyed walking to and through the park with me. Mid-week, now, and I'm still having fun reading all your sketches of what you got up to on the weekend. And the earlier conversation -- the one on Friendship and Transition -- continues.

 In fact, the latest comment there seems particularly worth drawing your attention to. The comment is worth reading in its entirety, but Penny (whose blog, The Homemade Heart, I read and enjoy) closes with words that really resonate with me, I think because they point to a balance between effort and reward, enthusiasm and delicacy, even perhaps pleasure and pain:  "Essentially making friends is just about reaching out, but without becoming emotionally flayed in the process. Keeping and nurturing meaningful friendships is about revealing more, within a more developed relationship, and finding that it resonates with the other person, and of course that doesn't happen with every friend, and it would be a bit exhausting if it did. Maturity helps."


I'll leave you to ponder that. I've run with my sister already this morning, written this blog, and now I'm settling into an armchair with a mystery novel. If you care to know what I'm reading, check out my latest post over on my reading blog. And if you care to leave a comment, either here or there, well, you should know by now how much I'll appreciate that. Happy Wednesday!

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