Monday, November 28, 2011

High above

Much of the fun of living back in Calgary this year has been getting acquainted to the city with kids in tow....and that means re-exploring many of the places I remember from my childhood.

I took the kids up the Calgary Tower last weekend. It was one of those super cold, clear sky kind of days and I imagined a clear view of the mountains from up in the tower would entice everyone out of their jammies. It also fit the requirement of a school photography project she is doing around community.

I wasn't at all surprised when Isla traipsed back and forth across the glass floor overlooking a busy downtown street, even stretching her body out lengthwise to get a better view of below. I was although more surprised at Roscoe's reluctance to step foot on the glass floor. Despite Isla's gentle encouragement, there was no way he was getting any closer than necessary.
Isla on the other hand is obviously not afraid of heights!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rainbows, Sequins and Tooth fairies

November is typically a dreary, cold and dark month, with complaints of shorter days and first frosts. But not if you have a daughter whose brilliant personality and infectious smile lights up everything and everyone around her.

Isla turned six last weekend, and her greatest wish was to lose a tooth. She has been fascinated and slightly envious of all the children in her class - with someone losing or tooth nearly everyday it seems.

Pull, tug, and wiggle as we would - her teeth seem solidly in place (for now anyways). So with a sigh of acceptance, she requested instead a rainbow party for her sixth birthday - and that one I could deliver on.

We took advantage of the long weekend and packed up the candles, decorations and cake making ingredients and headed for the Kootenays.

Turning six, I have realized now, comes with some added maturity and a delightful sense of self-determination and assurance. Isla was most helpful all weekend and enthusiastically involved in all the preparations for the party.

She played a gracious hostess at the party, serving up lunch to all her playmates, organizing the events and party games. And with a sparkle in her eye to match her sequined top, she gleefully received her birthday song and cake.

With as much enthusiasm as her mother (that it actually worked), we revealed a six layer rainbow cake!

Isla Belle, teeth and all, I love you for all your radiance, sparkling personality and kind heart. Happy Birthday my sweet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This Moment - SNOW DAY!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ Soulemama

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spook and slime

Nothing better than a weekend full of tricks and treats to cheer you up! Isla has been anxiously counting down the days to Halloween and the festivities began on Saturday with a costume themed birthday party in the neighborhood. Sunday, we broke in our ice skates for the season at the local arena for a family spooky skate event and by Monday when the real deal finally rolled around, the kids were buzzing with excitement. And that was BEFORE they ate any candy! Of course there was pumpkin carving, and halloween baking and costume donning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Remember

Grieving is like a blow to the face and warm embrace at the same time. The rawness of loss so overwhelming that it knocks you on your ass, only to emerge stronger and more aware of what's really important in life. You would think that since death provokes such strong emotions, that we'd have a clear channel through which to express them. Yet the tears lead to sobs, which lead to uncontrollable fits of laughter, and then tears again. What's up with that?!?

I have felt such sadness this past week that my heart still aches, but I have also felt such love that I am filled with gratitude. So grateful to have spent time with Bob's incredible family, getting to know them better. So grateful to share hugs and tears with friends, but just as much laughter and stories - remembering a man that could make you laugh until it hurt. So grateful to see a community of people come together to celebrate an individual that meant so much to so many people. And the beauty of such a tragic loss is that those who knew our friend Bob will undoubtedly mourn him, but be inspired to be more like he was - remarkable, generous and loving.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bob Reimer 1954-2011

On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary human being. His absence will be felt forever but his presence will live on in all that he taught us. I have more tears than words to express just how much he will be missed, by us, by his family, by so many people whose lives he impacted. My heart is broken. 


Bob Reimer passed away October 20th at the age of 57.

Born August 11, 1954, in Steinback Manitoba, Bob lived most of his life in British Columbia before moving to Calgary in 1980 to start his family and ceramics career. He leaves behind three children; Julia, Peter and Angela, four grandchildren, his former parter and best friend Jeannie, a community of friends, colleagues and students. Bob was known as a passionate, loving, talented and humorous individual, an asset to the ceramics community and a beloved teacher. 

He touched many lives. He will be remembered fondly, and thought of daily. 

No words can describe the grief we are all feeling while coping with this sudden loss. We take comfort in knowing he did not suffer, he was happy and loved by many. A special thanks for all the support received from friends and family. 

We will be celebrating Bob, a remarkable individual, at North Mount Pleasant Arts center on Monday October 24th at 3 p.m. Please bring your stories, smiles and clay splattered pants if you have them. If you would like to send your thoughts or condolences please email or visit

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A day in the Country

Keeping with our weekend warrior theme, we packed up and headed out into the countryside on Sunday. Equipped with snacks, bikes and plenty of warm layers of clothing for the kids - we were set for a day in the country - at a very special piece of property in the foothills of AB.

Robin came equipped with his gloves and work pants, ready to spend the day helping a good friend, John Chalke, work on rebuilding the second chamber of his wood kiln. Our friend Cam Stewart had flown in from the lower mainland earlier in the week to also help with the kiln, so it was a great excuse to get in a visit with him as well.

John and his partner Barb have a magical piece of property, and the kids were stoked to ride their bikes on the leafy trails and go exploring in the aspen woods all afternoon. We enjoyed a campfire cookout and stayed until after sunset and Isla declared it, 'the best day ever'!

Robin will be exhibiting next month alongside John and Barb at The Makings II, a group exhibition of contemporary and historic ceramic works at Willock and Sax gallery in Banff, AB. The first Makings exhibition was so successful that the gallery is hosting a second annual exhibition of works by the artists on November 1 - 30th, with an opening reception Saturday, Nov 5th from 2 p.m. -  5 p.m.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Weekend Warriors

Part of living in the city is subscribing to the 'weekend warrior' effect. And we've been making a good effort to take non-sensical road trips just about every other weekend since we've arrived. We're averaging a trip back to the Kootenays about once a month, all for a little dose of home and a taste of the slower valley pace. Seems ridiculous considering the epic driving and snack packing required to get there and back - but worth it nonetheless.

Our first visit back in September was essential for catching up with some beloved friends that are soon making their own move to Australia. We also harvested the neglected garden which turned out to be 'not so neglected' and quite productive. Corn, tomatoes, a variety of squash and enough zuchinni to feed a small army was collected.

Last month still had the feeling of summer in the air, but when we headed back this past Thanksgiving weekend, you could certainly tell the change in season.  It was a fabulous weekend of feasting with friends and family, with enough whipped cream and gravy consumed to hibernate for the next six months.

We even made it out to Banff for a little Rocky Mountain adventuring with Uncle Chris one weekend while Robin was away attending the 1000 miles apart Ceramics Conference in Winnipeg.

Tomorrow we're off to Sundre to check out a good friend's kiln and property and we're hoping to still fit in a trip to Medicine Hat before Halloween rolls around. It has been go, go, go since we arrived in late August - the idea of hibernating is starting to sound pretty good right about now.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Urban Mom

OK, so its taken me a little longer than I expected to get settled into the urban life. I thought I'd have it in the bag, moving back to my home town. With many a year I spent driving the city streets here, having a long list of people and eateries to reacquaint myself with, I figured it would soon feel as though I never left. But I've realized that since my departure (pre-children) in 2004, a lot has changed.

1. Smart phones.  I'm not afraid to admit that I am a cell phone Neanderthal. Living in the Kootenays where cell phone coverage is spotty and in many places even non-existant - I could never justify the added monthly expense. Even in Utah, we were able to go the 2.5 years without a cell phone, despite being the mockery of our friends. But we managed without just fine. But when we made the move to Calgary this fall, we knew it was inevitable - I'd actually be forced to learn to send a text. For my work purposes, and if I ever wanted to find Robin in the depths of the college,a cell phone was a must. What I didn't prepare myself for was a smart phone, one that just happened to land in my lap, and I am beginning to realize that it is indeed much smarter than I.

2. Fashion trends. I consciously made the decision to leave my beloved Kootenay gumboots at home when I packed to come to Calgary. And I've become acutely sensitive about that omission in my daily wardrobe, each day when I deliver Isla to school and witness the fashion trends and wardrobe choices of all the other stay at home moms. I silently miss my cutoff gumboots and anything goes wardrobe malfunctions that wouldn't even raise an eyebrow back home. But I'm getting a whole lot of wear out of my skinny jeans and I have acquired a sweet pair of new casual runners that I am totally in love with (I had somehow forgotten how much I love buying new shoes!?!)

3. Mom duties. How is it that I didn't clue in earlier to the fact that when I lived in Calgary, I was not a Mother. It's like a whole new kind of life here in cowtown with kids in tow, and I'm discovering and exploring parts of the city I never knew existed.

This last aspect of the move has probably been my biggest transitional challenge. Juggling pick ups and drop offs and gymnastics and swimming, I haven't quite been able to get to that list of friends and eateries. But I will, I will.

The weather is shifting and the colours are changing dramatically, practically right in front of our eyes. I  am reminded how much I love this time of year in this city. I've got big plans for this month.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Familiar Haunts

Robin started his teaching gig at ACAD (Alberta College of Art & Design) this week, and is getting his bearings on the role of Visiting Artist.

It shouldn't take him long to find his way around the college, seeing that he was a student here not so very long ago. Instead he'll have to get used to the large spacious studio he's been given to work in, overlooking the main studios - a far cry from the 5x5 ft space he was allotted during his undergrad. What'll he do with all that space? More importantly, how fun it'll be to carry all his work up and down those stairs:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Milestones are constructed along highways to provide reference points along the road to travellers. Whether perceived as a reassurance that one is on the right path or an indication of where one has come from, milestones can tell us at the very least, where we are at that moment.

At this moment in my life, I'm celebrating 10 years of being married to a most incredible and inspiring man. Together, we've shared the thrill of young love, the adventure of travelling, the loss of loved ones, the joys of parenthood, the accomplishment of building a home, and both the challenges and fulfillment of pursuing our dreams.

And we're not finished yet! We've only just begun yet another adventure with our latest return to Calgary, and in terms of milestones, I am reassured that we're exactly where we should be. Full circle in many ways, we were married in Calgary a decade ago, and now the reason for our move back to Alberta is for Robin to return to the place where he was first introduced to clay.

Robin is officially on the faculty list at ACAD, as visiting artist for the 2011-2012 school year, but his first day teaching isn't until next week. Instead of getting a head start on setting up his studio at the college, he spent this past week teaching a workshop in familiar territory at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre, where he was formerly employed as a ceramics tech and instructor before we moved to B.C.

And our sweet Isla Belle experienced her own milestone this week too, with her first day of Grade 1. Interestingly enough she is attending the same school her daddy did when he was young. Full circle.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Just Happened!?!

Our Summer just happened, that is what!

I remember back in May thinking about the months that lay ahead and wondering how on earth we were going to manage to fit in all that we were hoping to - a hillside excavation, putting in a garden, a major brick delivery, some beach time, a new kiln and kiln shed, a studio tour and pottery sale and of course lots of barbeque parties on the deck.

Well we did it, and then some. The weather this month made up for all the wet and dreary we had earlier in the summer and amidst the work projects we still made time to lay on the beach, eat ice cream and ride our bikes. The only thing there didn't seem time for was blogging!

The studio sale went of without a hitch and in a good old barn raising fashion, we even got the roof up on the kiln shed. The floor of the kiln got laid, and the rest of the kiln will happen when it happens.

August seemed to happen in such a flash that I am still catching my breath. Oh, and did I mention that we moved to Calgary too?

We packed up our trailer once again this past weekend and headed east instead of south this time. Calgary will be our home for the next 8 months. Another adventure, another chapter for the Potter's wife. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hanging Around

Finally the dog days of summer have arrived and between the many projects we have on the go at our place, our only other hang out spot has been the beach! We've had over a week now of solid sunny days, some hot enough to wistfully long for the cooler months that were June and July, but a daily plunge in the cool Slocan waters quickly washes away any of that nonsense.

On the homefront, Robin has been laying brick on his new kiln, trying to get most of the days work in before the hot part of the day, but mostly ends up sweltering away the entire day. Thanks to the help of some good friends this weekend and in particular our pal Cam, who has been dedicated and diligently working away at a timber structure to house the kiln, this past weekend we erected the frame. All it needs now is a roof and voila, some shade to ease the long days working in the sun.

The roof may have to wait another few days though because we're switching gears again this coming weekend for our annual Studio Tour and Pottery Sale at our place. The event takes place both days, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and we're hoping for a big turnout, any excuse to get people together for a coffee on the deck and to talk pottery:)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for just the right kind of weather for the weekend. Not too hot, or else everybody might skip the culture tour and head to the beach. Believe me, I know just how tempting the river can be at this time of year.....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Summer that stood us up

I suppose that if this was going to be the summer that never was (weather speaking), better this one than next considering we've spent the last five weeks in a cast or splint of some kind. Sure the weather has been, well, crap, and at least we don't have to worry about forest fires. And for a potter living in the forest, with a wood kiln and another one in the works, it can rain all it wants during the summer.

Since the last firing, Robin has hardly even given the pots that came out of the kiln a second glance, he's been too excited about getting to work on his new train kiln. Plenty of phone calls and late nights spent pouring over the design and brick lists - he laid down the first layer a couple days ago and is hard at it.

Lucky for him he has one enthusiastic apprentice, that is willing to work.......

....rain or shine!

The other apprentice is not quite as interested in helping out, but comes around every once in a while to check on his dad's progress.

"Good job so far dad, get er' done."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Goodness

The rain is coming down so hard right now we've got a series of tributaries spanning our new driveway! Robin was forced to brave the downpour and dig a few diversion ditches to properly drain the surging puddles. Its been that kind of summer here - a wet one. And although its getting a bit old, and I'd really like a few hot days to hit the river with the kids, I am happy to be reaping the rewards of a happy garden.

It hasn't obviously been all that bad since by the looks of my greenhouse you'd never know it has been unseasonably cool in the Kootenays. Even the outdoor patches of this n' that are providing some food for the dinner table these days. We've enjoyed some fabulous pesto, salads every night and enough snap peas to keep the kids happy.

Even the odd vase or two are getting some use with some fresh flowers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The far from fast firing

We lit up our kiln "Hot Lily' last weekend after several days of intermittent rain. The weather was perfectly cool and besides the annoying mosquitos that took to feasting on us during the load, we were happy to be firing the ol' familiar once again after a couple years hiatus. What we thought would be a piece of cake firing turned into a long and drawn out one.

After stalling out at about 1600F around midnight the first night, we weren't able to gain much temperature at all until well past dawn. At least we had lots of helpers. 85 yr old Grandpa Wes (who hasn't missed a firing of 'Lily" yet) stayed up all night with Robin. And then Roscoe and I took the early morning shift.

I seem to recall another firing that took it's sweet time in this kiln (also with fairly wet wood) that ended up producing some pretty sweet pots, so fingers crossed that we'll see the fruits of our labour when we open up the kiln later today.