Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking back... marks one year since I met A/C in Carlton Place, Ontario on my cross-Canada tour to Quebec. (Despite what he says, the meal was fabulous!)

Tonight I remained local. I did the music for a party for L'Arche Calgary. At it I met two long-time friends Pat B. and Michael H., both from St. Andrew's. It was a really short party, but really quite fun.

I've booked my flights to B.C. in anticipation of Island Folk Fest in Comox on Vancouver Island. I'll stay with my friends Mike and Janie in Nanaimo, then on to Burnaby to visit with my long-time friend Sharon (we went to Elementary School together and her folks still live about a block from my place) I'm looking forward to the break as the events of the last number of weeks - nay, months - have taken their toll on my physical and emotional health. Most of it's really about lack of sleep since I really took on far too much all at once: University course, work, rebuilding the basement and bringing things around to normal after the fact. One of the bonuses of my trip West is seeing James Keelaghan again at Comox. I mentioned to him that I would be attending and he seemed genuinely excited that I was going to be there.

Right now I'm listening to a disc April gave me today. It's her equivalent to my love for Kelo's music, Jen Grant. I liken her to the influence of Jane Siberry amd Dido. It's rather pleasant to have on in the background.

The house and yard are definitely taking the shape of "home" these days. I've turned over something of a new leaf - out of sheer frustration, admittedly. I'm throwing everything out which is a dynamic switch from my S.O.P. of "I might need this sometime, keep it." The space feels far better than the stuff ever did.

Tomorrow I'm going to see my Mom.

She'll be 84.

We'll have a coffee and a chat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The things we hear...

I don't know about you, but I tend to pick up on things other people say in public. Tuesday morning it was at the chiropractor's office. I was sitting in the waiting room with an older couple ahead of me. The gentleman exclaimed to Judy, the receptionist,

"Have they changed the elevators recently?"

Judy replied, "I don't think so, why?"

"I don't remember them door-open and door-close buttons bein' there."

I'm thinking to myself, "Um... OK..."

Judy said, "No, I think they've always been there."

The gentleman's wife said, "We're probably so used to just getting on and coming up that we don't pay attention to it."

And she's right - there's lots of stuff I'm oblivious to, but it made for interesting listening. What was even more interesting was the way in which the gentleman cared for his wife. She was in a wheelchair, and when the automated computer system called her name, he escorted her to the adjustment area and quite litterally picked her up out of the chair and set her on the adjustment table. He made sure she was comfortable, then excused himself to the waiting room.

"Nice.", I thought.

This experience was not only humerous, but touching. Thought I'd share.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MUSIC MONDAY "The things we never challenge are the things that never change!" - James Keelaghan - June 20, 2009

When I asked James Keelaghan for some "Kelo words of wisdom" and to sign a copy of his album "A Recent Future", he scribbled away on the liner note insert whilst I peeled the plastic off another of his discs to sign. It wasn't until I returned to the group that I read his words. It wasn't until I got home and listened to the track "Turn of the Wheel" that I realized he'd quoted his song lyrics.

My sister and I have a standing agreement: if either of us catch wind of a Keelaghan show, we are - without fail - to inform the other. Discovering this particular show was a bit of a fluke as it wasn't really advertised all that widely. I found out from my neighbour Jim who got it from a friend who was working the event. It was the 50th Anniversary of the Rosemont Community in Calgary. I live... um... one or maybe two communities over - not far. James grew up in Rosemont and spoke a couple times of tobogganing down the hill at the base of which he was singing.

I was introduced to James' music back in the early 90s when my friend Henry was living in Calgary. He was a bit of a folkie and raved on about Keelaghan's music. It took me going to Ontario to see James for the first time in '99 at "Ste. Marie Among the Hurons" a bird sanctuary, of all places. Henry had moved home and was ecstatic about the show, especially since I was out to visit at that time.

OK, pictures...

James was kind enough to pose for a shot prior to the show

I'm a sound guy so naturally I had to scope out the stage prior to the show.

I could use this shot to argue that I was the only one to show up for the show...

...but no, it was simply an intimate gathering at the hill. Reminded me of "Shakespeare in the Park", only this poet sets his work to music.

Here we are - my good friends Norm and Jacquie at front, my BIL Doug on the grass in the red shirt, and to his left my sister Laura. Behind them, April.

About half way through, James invited his brother Bob to join him on stage.

Come to think of it, I didn't ever post fully about my basement renos in May. Nevertheless, I have a new tenant as of June 1. April joined us for the show.

I have this new iPhone which I think is great, but when trading photo favours after the show, the guy who had a real camera had some difficulty making out the difference between the "home" button and the soft-touch shutter button on my phone. It was good for a laugh, and... he caught it!

I mentioned a couple posts back about the song, "Kiri's Piano" - which James played at the request of a couple who had apparently named their daughter after the song. The song holds some significant importance to me. In English 371 we studied some literature reflecting the Japanese internment in Canada, and in English 385, studied not only indigenous but also marginalized peoples. I'm sending a copy of the disc "My Skies" to each of my two professors because I think they would truly appreciate the music.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Good news!

I went to the chiropractor this morning with my bundle of x rays in hand. I'd borrowed the previous years' shots to share with my massage therapist student, and last week had this year's comparative x ray taken. The one shot that excites me is the head-and-neck. They measure the angle at which your neck rests subject to your spinal alignment, shoulders and head position.

Back in 2006, my first x ray showed a curviture of 32 degrees.

Normal is 45 degrees.

After the initial 6-month aggressive treatment plan of 4 visits per week for 8 weeks, 3 visits per week for 8 weeks and 2 visits per week for 8 weeks the x ray showed an increase to 38 degrees - very rare, apparently, to have such an improvement in the short period.

One year later in 2007 I'd slipped to 34 degrees.

In 2008, 32 degrees.

Dr. Mike was beaming today when he came in to show me the most recent x ray. He reviewed the numbers from previous years, then popped the film up on the viewer.

Are you sitting down?

My neck curviture now measures...

43 degrees!


My head now rests further back over my shoulders, and my upper back is - although not perfect - straighter.

A lot of the progress is due to massage therapy too, and to be honest I've not felt all that great muscle-wise over the last three months. I'm incredibly tight and my muscle tone is lacking.

I don't drink enough water.
I don't stretch enough.
Exercise? Got lots, thanks - I reno'd a basement in May!

OK. I've been SLACKING.

But good news on the neck front!

Otherwise, I'm quite literally exhausted. I've never felt so absolutely worn out, and after a chat with Dr. Mike today, have come to the conclusion that my long-term go-go-go lifestyle has been to blame. I don't sleep enough, and when I rest I tend to put my body to rest but I don't always quiet my mind. I'm facing a lot of my days tired and not sharp-of-mind.

I've decided not to go on the housing project in New Orleans. Instead, I must focus hyper-locally: quite literally on my body. I've lost a fair amount of weight since September, and I'm feeling the effects. I've always had trouble maintaining my weight, and the last six months have proven even more challenging. Tiredness takes over sooner rather than later simply because I'm not charged - physically.

Off to rest my body, and quiet my mind.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A piece of Canadiana: Kiri's Piano

Messing around on iTunes, I downloaded this tune to my iPhone the other day. I was lying in bed listening to it last night and discovered it's the story of a Japanese war-time internee in British Columbia. This song brought back memories of my English studies last year in 370 - a historiographic metafictional piece, Joy Kogawa's Obasan: a reflection on some of Canada's ugly history.

I've always loved James Keelaghan's music, its local flavour (he's from Calgary) and his sense of story telling woven into amazing music. He's playing here in a couple weeks and I'm excited... really excited. He often opens his solo shows to audience requests.

I think I have one:

Kiri's Piano
James Keelaghan - 1993

Of all of Kiri Ito's joys,
the thing she loved the best
Was to play her prized piano
when the sun had gone to rest
I used to hear the notes drift down
Along the silent water
As Kiri played the notes and scales
for her dear sons and daughters.

Now me I played piano
though not as good as Kiri
She went in for that long haired stuff
but my she played it pretty.
The old piano had a tone
would set my heart to aching.
It always sounded sweetest though
when it was Kiri playing.

In December when the seventh fleet
was turned to smoke and ashes,
The order came to confiscate
their fishing boats and caches.
And Kiri's husband forced to go
and work in labour camps,
And Kiri left alone to fend
and hold the fort as best she can.
But the music did not drift as often
from up the cove at Kiri's house.
And when it did it sounded haunted
played with worry played with doubt;
For Kiri knew that soon she too
would be compelled to leave,
And the old upright would stay behind
and Kiri she would grieve.

I loaded Kiri on the bus
with stoic internees.
The crime that they were guilty of
was that they were not like me.
And if I was ashamed,
I didn't know it at the time.
They were flotsam on the wave of war
they were no friends of mine.
I went up to Kiri's house
to tag all their belongings,
And set them out for auctioneers
who'd claim them in the morning.
One piece that I thought I'd keep
and hold back for myself
Was that haunting ivory upright
that Kiri played so well.

But Kiri had not left it there
for me to take as plunder.
She'd rolled it down onto the dock
and on into the harbor.
That old upright in strangers' hands
was a thought she couldn't bear:
So she consigned it to the sea
to settle the affair.

So many years have come and gone
since Kiri's relocation;
I look back now upon that time
with shame and resignation.
For Kiri knew what I did not:
that if we must be free,
Then sometimes we must sacrifice
to gain our dignity.

Yes Kiri knew what I did not:
that if we must be free,
Then sometimes we must sacrifice
to gain our dignity.

James Keelaghan plays the Rosemont Community June 20, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Turtle's attending.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


It's done.

The suite is finished, new tenant in - settled - happy.

And I'm exhausted.

Yesterday was a write-off, really. I tried to function, really I did. It seems the more I sleep to restore and the more I eat to refuel, the more exhausted I feel. It's crazy. I put in half a morning loading my neighbour's truck for a dump run to clear out the yard and I powered out. Literally.

I need a vacation, and soon. Was thinking of New Orleans in July to help out on a housing project down there, but I dunno - I think I need to get away sooner than that. Must see where the dust settles with the dollars and cents before I do anything too wild. I have so many things I'd like to do around the house that maybe a stay-home holiday is best. Maybe I need to enter a sleep-a-thon or something. The crazy days of up-at-7:30, to bed at 3:00 have taken their toll, apparently.

Going to a Keelaghan show in a couple weeks - that'll be a blast as it is always.

I think I'll have a bite to eat and hit the pillow again. I've been treating these last couple days like a cat: getting plenty of rest between naps.

Turtle out.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.