About me

Mrs. Stepford asked me to write 8 facts about myself. Now, there’s a task!

After all, when you are talking about a person, what is a fact?

I could start with height, weight, age and hair colour, but I suspect that is not what she is looking for. Besides, sometimes that’s just too much information. Like any self-respecting woman, we can’t discuss two of those; and my hair is ash blond and my height is five foot six.

I could add details about jobs I have had, but that doesn’t really tell you who I am, just what I’ve done to earn money. I’ve taught art in high school and at college level. I’ve dealt in antiques. I’ve sold shoes; counted widgets in a parts store – screws, nails, door handles, gaskets, you name it – very boring. My first paying job besides babysitting (oh! when I think of the responsibility I had and what I knew then about tending children, I blush in horror at the possibilities of ill that could have occurred. But they didn’t, and everyone is still safe and sound) was working in a deli for Mr. and Mrs Lyons for seventy five cents an hour, and we had to come in early to set up, unpaid, and stay after to sweep up and wash the counters, also unpaid.

I’ve just retired in the past 6 months. Where did the time go? I’ve been so busy! How did I find time to work? I am very glad to have finished with that highly professional administrative job that I worked at, that gave me a pension finally, but if I hadn’t finished with the job, the job would have finished me, with its high pressure and insane expectations of responsibility. I’m glad that’s done.

I could tell you that my Gran gave my mother to send me to Art in the Park when I was ten, but that tells you more about my grandmother than about me. The fact that I remember it always and that I am a visual artist attests both to my love for my grandmother and I learned to love messing with paint.

I could tell you that I got a grade of C in Phys Ed. and that is a fact. But it doesn’t tell you whether it was because I was just lazy or shy about joining in, or because I was from a family that didn’t emphasize exercise as part of daily requirements. We were an academic family and we studied in our family but did not run around the block for fresh air and aerobic health.

I would rather tell you about me through some things that don’t fit into the fact category or information, but rather are soft and fuzzy, touchy feely things or emotional things, or goals and aspirations.

1. I’m blessed in my strong friendships with women who have supported me through my growing up and my continual growing, through my teeter totter marriages and my successes and failures. They encourage me. They envourage me to get up when I’m falling down; they share their lives in idle chatter and in profound ideas.

2. I’m not so good at marriage. That’s one of my life lessons to work on.

3. I’m passionate about art – both viewing other people’s art and making my own. I don’t like commercial art, the common stuff you see in galleries; I like thought provoking and emotional art. I look for the essence in things and try to express that in a simplified and austere way. Art is a meditation for me as well as a solace. In the making of images, I find it a constant challenge and therein lies my continuing passion because there is always something to learn.

4. I’m passionate about music. More often than not, you would find me in the classical section of the record store, although I like some jazz and some cool smooth songs. In different eras of my life, I’ve concentrated on different composers, matching, perhaps, my general state of being. Early on, I liked Beethoven and played it on the piano too. It was regular in tempo and easy to understand the form of it.

I moved on to Brahms, Schubert and Schumann, then to the French Impressionists, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Saint-Saëns and others. I just looked up Saint-Saens in Wikipdeia and his life is amazing. If you want a depressing Google experience, just see what that kid could do before he was ten.

When I went teaching up in the Slocan Valley in the Seventies, I listened to the Russian composers daily – Prokofiev was my favorite, but there was Stravinsky, Borodin and Rimsky Korsakov. But I was also listening to the Beatles, A Whiter Shade of Pale, Jose Feliciano and a whole gamut of different music styles. There were people in the area creating music also, in jazz, blues and Kentucky blue grass styles. All that was very enriching.

After I left Franc, I listened to Chopin and I remember coming home from work trying to sing along or whistle with a tape cassette that I had on repetitively. It’s hard to sing his Etudes, but there are simple tunes hidden in between his complicated chording. His work was so different in his day, I think of him as the jazz pianist of his era. Perhaps he was the founder of jazz improvisations! Or was that Bach. And yes, I’ve always loved Bach.

Lately, I’ve been listening to Rachmaninoff, some of his Etudes and Preludes. I like listening to it while I write and when I drive on long journeys.

5. I can tell you that when I went to Europe in my late twenties and stayed for seven years in France, that I was a spoiled brat, but also a naive one. I grew up during that time on my own. I was lonely and found friends. I learned to speak French fluently. I saw more art in those seven years than I can tell you and I miss the opportunity to see such huge exhibitions of major artists’ works. I’ll have to go back to France.

I travelled through several European countries before I came home. I learned to be independent and to appreciate what I have. I learned that Canadians are rich and don’t know it. I learned that we won the lottery being born with a Canadian Passport in our mouths. We have a great security net in our social contract with our citizenry.

I met wonderful people and correspond with a few of them to this day. I was welcomed into homes with warmth and generosity in France. Twice, I was so lucky to attend the “Pierre, le Canadien” day in Clermont-Ferrand, in memory of a Saskatchewan boy who joined the French Resistance and was killed by the Germans as he fled through territory he was unfamiliar with. The French of that area have not forgotten his bravery and his sacrifice. They paired their city with one in Saskatchewan and exchange visits every year. I find that endearing.

6. I’m half way between a Luddite, those early nineteenth century rebels against progress who smashed machinery because they thought the changes the industrial revolution brought were ruining a fine way of life, and those pioneers of advanced knowledge who are reaching for new discoveries and revelations.

In other words, I’m still struggling with my computer which I would like to boot with my foot some days instead of rebooting with the on-off switch. The advance in technology allowed me to take 264 pictures at a conference this afternoon and evening without changing film once! And they all fit in a memory stick that is smaller than my hand. On the other hand, I love to draw. The physical activity of having a charcoal stick in my hand and manipulating it over the surface of a good piece of paper is very satisfying, just as it must have been to a man or woman drawing beasts in the Lascaux caves.

I love to write on the computer which allows for all kinds of editing changes with ease that a typewriter could not perform. Yet, I love to have a hand written letter; I’d rather short one of these than a long, garrulous one that’s been composed for fifty friends on the computer and sent out in a mass distribution e-mail. And I’d rather receive this latter, than none at all.

7. I love to cook. Take one look at me, and you know I like to eat, too. La joie de vivre!

But don’t ask me to do baking. The limit, in this category, is pies. Franc taught me a relatively painless way to make pastry and the French method of apple pie. I don’t do cookies and squares. I much prefer the savory.

8. I’m running down, here.

I love gardening because I’m awed by God’s creation of flowers and plants. Truth be told, I like watching some bugs too, as long as they stay outside, though. I’ve just bought a new house with a big garden. I’ll see how maintaining it goes. I’m not getting any younger.

There are large beds of phlox, irises, poppies and other stuff in between. There is a sweet smelling rose that just keeps pumping out beautiful blooms and several other kinds of flowering shrubs. I’m going to be able to have lots of cut flowers in the house.


And that’s my eight facts.


22 Responses to “About me”

  1. suburbanlife Says:

    Kay – I have nominated your blog for a “Thinking Blogger Award”. You consistently provide an opportunity for a reader to examine their attitudes and assumptions about relationships, and you write with great affection about those who your path crossess.
    Please nominate 5 other blogs for this “award”, attach the logo to your post and propel the meme forward. G

  2. mongoose1 Says:

    I love your 8 facts!

  3. Kay Says:

    Thanks Mongoose. Do you have a blog that I can look at?

  4. mongoose1 Says:

    Hi Kay, I have a baby blog at http://www.mongoose1.wordpress.com I am still trying to figure out the posting etc.

    One of the things I loved about your blog was how open you are about your thoughts and what is going on in your life. You strike me as someone really fearless.

    When I clicked on you blog, the first thing I saw was the cottage you’ve bought. The roof reminded me of some of the thatched roofs I saw in England~so your picture really made me smile.


  5. geraniums Says:

    Its me. I came back and read “about” you. I might have known you were an artist Kay! If you want to look at my paintings they are at http://www.bettybishop.ca but I have recently been working at what I call The Bottom Line which may or may not become the story of my life. Isn’t the internet great? How long have you been blogging? I expect many doors will open for you – not to mention how good it feels just to put it in words.
    take care,

  6. Chris Miller Says:

    It may be very dense of me — but I can’t seem to find your paintings (other than the one watercolor) on your blog.

    Could you point me in the right direction ? Are they on another site ?

    (like you — I’m always “looking for beauty”)

  7. egg-shell Mary Says:

    Hi Kay – Started reading your blog a bit. I think we both like to be honest in our writing – it’s refreshing! And you have an interesting way with words. I think I’m going to have to keep reading!

  8. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks Egg-shell Mary. And welcome to my world!

  9. artstage Says:

    I agree on many points with your list. Since there is only a small difference: the majority of my best friends are men, mainly artists. For many years I’m working with artists who inspired me and made a new perspective on things possible for me.
    And for me, it was Joseph Haydn (on whose original places I grew up: around Eisenstadt), although I also like Beethoven (especially his string quartets) very much.
    You seem to like similar things and I’ll read your blog with great joy and attention!
    (I have a few blogs at wordpress: artstage.wordpress.com, bildhauersymposion.wordpress.com, nodbach.wordpress.com – a common artproject, lakealike.wordpress.com – an “exhibition-site” with the painter Andreas Roseneder, …). Sorry, most of them are in german language, but the pictures can tell stories too!
    Greetings from Austria (Burgenland),
    artstage (Maria)

  10. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thank you, Artstage!
    How very nice of you to share your thoughts with me.
    Europe is so rich a culture. I think it’s marvelous to think one could grow up in a place that was the birthplace of a cultural giant like Haydn.

    When I was younger, I often felt the “Odd-man-out”, a bit of a misfit because I had a classical education. In my adult life, I am finding many people who have similar interests and culture. I think many of us were hiding, too shy to share ourselves, and that is the wonderful thing about becoming more sure of ourselves with age, about sharing on this blogging forum, and finding people in our communities through our strong interests.

    I looked through the nodback and lakealike sites yesterday. Despite not knowing the language, I could see that they were most interesting. I was impressed by the maturity of the work and the experimental nature of it. I love it when artists reach out past the edge of the comfort zone to create something. So now I will go and search your bildhauersymposion and artstage sites.
    Thanks again and best wishes to you in your creativity.

  11. artstage Says:

    Hi lookingforbeauty!
    I think to like classical music (also classical literature) is not an old-fashioned thing! I started to learn playing the piano in the age of 10 – at the same time I bought my first album of Jimi Hendrix! For me, there never was a difference, e.g. between classical music and rock music. The most important thing for me is – and was – still the energy and the spirit behind the art. And I have a lot of friends who match with this opinion.
    Resumée: creativity enriches our lives, doesn’t it?
    More in your mailbox!

  12. lookingforbeauty Says:

    You are right, Artstage.
    Good music is good music! It doesn’t matter what the genre is. It’s the spirit and the intelligence of the composition that counts, combined with the sensitivity of the performer that makes a piece of music great. And then it strikes your feelings, your heart! Et voila!

  13. Vanni B Says:

    Goodness, such profuse prose 🙂 Very touching

  14. tomwhelan Says:

    Hi – I wanted to stop by after your kind comment at Nature Diary. What a life you’ve had, and one that has many points of contact with mine – love of art and music, living in Europe (England and Austria for me, not as long as your sojourn), food, and the garden. Drop me a line if you want to chat about music – I’d love to read your reactions to my work and see more of your art. I could only find a few drawings here.

    I’ll come back to read more of your writing later…


    Thanks Tom,
    I found your photos extraordinary. I’ll drop by Nature Diary again.
    Yes, I’ve had a very interesting life, but I think most people have. Perhaps it sounds interesting because I can tell about it in stories – and I’ve been trained, as an artist, to be observant, to analyze, to be critical (in all senses of the word) of what I see. This blogging exercise has been a real thrill for me because I get comments from people like you who are interested and who add to the conversation.

  16. cole Says:

    Hey Beauty,

    FOr some reason I don’t get some comments via email from wordpess bloggers…so , thanks for commenting and stopping by.

    I think you may be my evil twin except I don’t speak french and I never taught art in high school.


  17. cole Says:

    AGain…not getting yoru comment notice in my email..so thanks again for stopping by.

  18. canadada Says:

    Hi, nice intro. Concise and comprehensive, as well as far reaching and exploratory … A good life, a hard won life, a happy life, albeit with a few spills, a normal life, a blessed life. We Canadians have it all, one way or the other, no? Lucky beings.

    Will send on an email to you shortly.
    Doing ‘the rounds’ at the moment …
    Best, Canadada

  19. lbtowers Says:

    Kindred spirits Kay! (Well, you’re longer on words).


  20. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Nice to meet you Lisa!
    I’ve enjoyed your blog so much. I think you may be right about being kindred spirits.

  21. Miki Says:

    Bonjour Madame à La Recherche de la Beauté!

    I was very happy to find your comment in my blog, I had the feeling that quite a strong character had written it, and this is why I came here to check!
    Je ne suis pas déçue!

    I am very pleased to meet you… I went quite emotional as I read about Clermont-Ferrand… I lived there myself, certainly not the happiest time of my life… it was in may 68, you surely know, the French Students Revolution. I was too young to make the revolution myself though, but these were tough times… for me personally the biggest problem being that the schools were all closed and I loved to go to school!

    Anyway it has been a pleasure to read this introduction, and I will come back…

  22. Sonya Chasey Says:

    Thank-you for letting me know of your existance!
    I agree with lots of things you say & I’d like to be able to write as well as you do- very enjoyable.

    Some beautiful photos too.

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