Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 49 (March 6)

I took a walk around my home-town after the funeral of my dear friend's mother this past Thursday. This is a stylized pic of my childhood friend's house that I took on this walk. As a girl, I spent a lot of time behind the two front windows on a Sunday eating chips out of cereal bowls, icecream out of mugs and Sunday dinner on a huge table that always felt bursting with food and big people I did not know.

 My friend was the youngest of 5 whose siblings were always accompanied by assorted girlfriends and boyfriends at the table and on the couch, often lying side-by-side eating cake after church. My friend was the blonde, blue-eyed baby sister who was adored and admonished by all. I was protected from this admonishment as I never felt entitled to the the last slice of pie. I was content to eat and pass the gravy and listen to the arguments volleying back and forth across the table. I was quite fascinated by it, coming from a home where I was the oldest child and the only thing volleying across the table were frozen peas.

The food in that house was probably the best food in all of Beamsville. Strawberries were not bought at fruit stands but picked fresh with the morning dew. Tomatoes were kept in the sun as they should, meat cooked until tender rather than leather. Cold-cuts and cheese were the highlights of a sandwich rather than a side-show to the bread. Pie was flaky and oozing with Niagara fruit. Food was respected and paid attention to. I think margarine was the kind of product that was mocked in that house. Along with shake n' bake and Kraft Pizza kits. However, low brow Cheezies, Sour Cream and Onion chips and Mars Bars were not sniffed at but valued for all their delectable goodness. It was quality, not labels that mattered.

My friend's mother was recently eulogized as "A quiet servant dutifully working behind the scenes." Indeed. She rocked a lot of babies for others, fed her family, and all assorted folk who stepped in her door, quality food that couldn't be found on a menu anywhere in the Niagara Peninsula. She spent over 30 years delivering Meals on Wheels to the elderly or sick and always included a nice piece of pie. She cared for an elderly lady across the street as if she was her own mother - I remember the passing of meals and baskets of fresh peaches across the street.

But she wasn't quiet nor dutiful.
She didn't do anything out of duty or obligation, she wanted to do these things and did them freely, picking and choosing the things that suited her. She didn't have to include a slice of home-made pie in a Meals on Wheels lunch, but she did it anyway. She felt in her heart it was right and she did it. It was an inner obligation, an inner standard that was her own.

And no, she wasn't quiet. She was bold. Bold in her generosity - no one could stand in her house and not be fed or cared about like they were her own charge. Before you knew it, you were sitting down with a generously iced piece of cake even though it was no one's birthday. She was also bold with her opinions. Those opinions flying at Sunday dinner? She was right in the middle of them. And though I never knew what they all were so passionately arguing about, Mrs. Wikkerink would state her final opinion and end it by saying "Period!"  That was that. She may have been un-educated by today's standards, but she knew things and stood her ground.

And she was right.

People need to be fed good food no matter who they are or what they've done. Period!

May you rest in peace knowing that your pie saved people in ways they have only begun to understand.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day ...well, many days...

I've been walking everyday (!)  but not taking photos everyday.
I felt pressure to find a photo,
whereas I would rather just take a photo when it presents itself to me.
But it was a good 30-day challenge.
It gave me a healthy habit and eliminated a few unhealthy ones,
 like sitting indoors all winter eating chips on the couch.
Not getting any exercise from November to April.
Feeling lousy so I eat more chips.
So I will walk everyday. I love my new habit.
It connects me with the little world around me and allows me to quiet my
monkey brain enough to notice things.
It also gives me a shot of daily exercise. I will post when I notice something.
This pic captures a lovely Saturday morning I spent in the sun
with my tulipsand a few cups of coffee.
 Life is a string of lovely little moments that are given
 to you freely and are abundantly available.
Sometimes they are right in front of you, but other times
you have to get up and walk around
 so they can find you.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Home sweet home. Sometimes I feel a little creepy walking around at night taking pics.
Once I saw someone looking at me through their living-room window 
- looking at me looking at them, 
or at least their fantastic front-yard tree.
So I took one at home tonight. 
No one was looking through the window at me looking at them. 
Robert was watching Breaking Bad.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 37

Barely there. But Summer existed. I found proof!
Unbelievable that leaves would sing together in the breeze less than a year ago. 
Spring will be sweeter this year.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 36

We went for a booze run as they say. LCBO downtown Oakville was shut tight as a drum. Sadness prevailed...walking in the wind for nothing I was thinking but then I saw this. Not very clear as the wind threatened to throw my phone into the harbour. I but I love the patterns of shapes in this pic just the same. 

Thinking more about what Almyra said about Miksang photography. It's like you don't want to fit the thing you notice into your own frame (of reference, perspective, trend etc) but allow it's frame or structure to be itself. I don't think I know how to do that.

Day 35

Went for a walk with Almyra, my dear ex-pat friend who lives in Lux. She is the REAL
photographer in the family. But I noticed a familiar vibe - she stops to look at things while everyone else keeps going down the sidewalk,and often, a camera is between her and what she stops to see. Now I know what it's like to walk with me. Though I think she's more hard-core.

 I am a light-weight compared to her but I am enjoying myself. She talks about the triangle of exposure and I talk about what looks interesting and stop there. 

She introduced me to Miksang, a type of meditative photography 
where you take photos of what strikes you, what opens
up to you, what you notice, what speaks to you. She says this is a discipline 
in that you have to un-train your cultured eyes - we always see through the lense of 
trends and culture and see a different way. I think the cultured lense is inescapable, and yet perhaps we just have to see with a different eye,
the inner eye - a completely different sense altogether. Maybe that's what she's talking about.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day 34

I'm curious. What were you thinking Elizabeth?