Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Power of Music Memory

A song came over the radio playing in the background at work one day last week, and it's one that always triggers an immediate visceral reaction from me - Elton John's "Benny and the Jets."

Another one that promotes a similar, almost as strong reaction is perhaps less known to some people and completely unknown to anyone under the age of 50 - Blues Image's "Ride Captain Ride."

What is it about these songs, that they have such power over me? They are pop songs, no doubt; not classic music in any true sense.

It's more about who I was, where I was, where my head and soul was at the time those songs were popular. I hear the first bar of music, and I time-travel to a very specific place and time, and I know every note and word of the song.

Other songs have specific connections.

Trooper and "We're Here for a Good Time" and Boz Scaggs singing "Lido Shuffle." • College

John Prine singing "Grandpa Was A Carpenter" and Chris deBurgh's "Patricia the Stripper." • Driving through the Mojave Desert to San Diego in the middle of winter.

Elton John and Leon Russell's duet "Gone to Shiloh"; JJ Cale and Eric Clapton's duet "Heads in Georgia"; The Dixie Chicks "Not Ready to Back Down." • Long drives to and from the North Country.

Rod Stewart singing "Maggie May." Neil Diamond singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore." James Blunt and Sarah McLachlin • Poignant days.

Smell is a powerful memory trigger as well. The smell of a wool scarf over my nose immediately propels me to the Grade 1 cloak room and childhood winters. Horse sweat wafting in the air sends me to a corral and a pasture of the early 1960s out on the prairie, when summers were endless and the high scream of red-tail hawks playing on the thermals pierced the superheated air perfumed with sage and buffalo grass.

Memories of good times, happy times, troubling times. Memories that remind me that my life has been full of love and adventure and risk and contentment.

… And I come to find a refuge in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

         ~ Dixie Chicks 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

So Much To Do - August in the Southern Interior

It's August, and the dog days of summer are presently tempered by cool, overcast weather.

Friend Lisa's son Lucas - isn't this just the poster child of summer?!

It has been quite hot leading up to this week, and the break is welcomed.

The summer is so busy in this region. It's impossible to do everything, be everywhere, but it's nice to have lots to choose from.

August 1-2 was the first ever North Okanagan Military Tattoo, and it was a grand affair - highland pipe bands, military and civilian bands, ethnic dancers, RCMP drill team work and so much more.

The Scottish blood in me stirs at the sound of pipes!

Saturday night we went to the movies, saw 'Guardians of the Galaxy' in 3D. What a hoot. I love DC/Marvel comics made into live-action movies. I might just go see it again.

And Sunday we made our annual summer trek to Nakusp for a ride through the Monashee Mountains and a nice evening at the Leland Hotel.

Early Monday morning, looking southeast
 from the Leland Hotel towards Arrow Lake.

We had the highway almost entirely to ourselves (the long weekend meant people were saving their Death Race home for Monday afternoon). Fresh asphalt in a particularly twisty part of the road brought delight to The Husband, who shot off like a kid and left me to ride in a more moderate fashion. I'm no chicken but he's always been a much more aggressive rider than me.

I never get tired of this view. Wouldn't want to live here -
too enclosed and isolated - but love to visit.

We met kindred souls who turns out had tangible connections to us - that whole six-degrees-of-separation theory often contracts down to one or two degrees for us! A few beers turned into a tequila night, and that's all we're saying about THAT.

Still and all, we were up bright and early Monday morning, looking forward to the ride home and only pausing to consider the route.

Last weekend I rode to Revelstoke for The Mother-in-Law's 85th birthday. It was a pleasant affair outside in the lovely weather. Nice to catch up with some of the family.

Brother Walter and wife Susan made a return visit on Monday, delivering some family items for us to cherish and hold in trust for our children.

The Husband is somewhere on the east coast of Lake Michigan, on a motorcycle ride with Friend Marc. I don't expect to see him until close to the end of the month.

So now it's an 'empty' weekend which I'm using for tasks like applying Danish oil to  the T&G pine and cedar that we installed in the basement. Manual labour is the best cure for a hellacious week in front of a computer.

I had the neighbour boy and his friend move our sofa and oversize armchair to the basement, to complete the suite's furnishings, almost. I have a dresser in Airdrie which I'll fetch next month. Then we will be open for business! Are you coming to visit?

Friends Adrienne and Ken are mid-move, and have gifted us two chairs with ottomans that will replace the sofa. We've loved that sofa for close onto 20 years and can't quite part with it, but it is enormous and takes up a lot of space (makes a dandy napping couch or pinch-hit bed, though).

Thunderheads building over the Enderby Cliffs Friday evening.

Do you have a busy weekend or a lazy, book filled one ahead of you?

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Roundup

So much to share. So long since last I wrote. Where do I begin?

Well, how about with a pic of the newest member of our family. Zachariah was born in early July and we're all quite pleased to make his acquaintance.

"This is not how it was represented in the brochure."

We missed his arrival in person by only a few days. Ah well. We have lots of time to get acquainted!

Upon returning from our jaunt to the north country, The Husband and Neighbour Ken decided to tackle their summer project: Falling the Very Tall Almost Dead Fir Tree.

The poor tree was obviously on it's last hurrah, and there was some danger to our house should a brutal windstorm, such as often frequent our valley, push it our direction.

The Husband appointed himself Faller, and although this wasn't his first tree by any means, I was still a bit apprehensive. The hundreds of trees we bucked up in the bush for firewood on our homestead were all brought down far from houses and such. (I will freely admit that one of the only incidents was a tree that I cut … and dropped on the back of our pick-up truck. But enough about me and my chainsaw faux pas.)

The early morning whine of a saw, followed by a dull *thud* announced the successful fall.

Trimming the branches prior to bucking it up into chunks.

Neighbour Ken found an ingenious way to protect his wife's young raspberry canes.
Notice how The Husband dropped the tree exactly onto them. I love it when a plan comes together.

The fir was over 65 ft tall, but The Husband found the perfect hole to drop it into.

What with a week or so of intense heat, in the 35C to 40C range, and both of us fighting the chest cold virus that has been running rampant this summer, July sort of floated away on us.

We did get some riding in, kept the yard under control and the housework attended to - but mostly just let our days wander along. Sometimes that's a good thing.

AND THEN the mother of all monsoons ripped right through the province, dropping temperatures like a stone in water … crazy winds, and speaking of water, 20mm in 20 minutes onto forest and city alike, leaving mayhem in its wake.

That stirred us out of our lassitude!

The 2nd annual Somethin' Red was scheduled for the last Saturday of July. With a houseful of out-of-province guests expected, we kept a weather eye on the skies, hoping it would blow out before party time.

As promised, the skies did indeed clear and blessed us with a simply wonderful weekend. We were a house party of nine plus additional guests for the evening.

Stringing lights for the evening.

Art hung along the newly-installed fence. Just like we planned (ha).

Kaila (and her partner Jonathan) was our musical performer for the event.
She is definitely coming again next year!

Good food, good wine, good friends and good weather. Can't ask for much more.

The rest of the weekend was given over to enjoyment of the fine things of our region: touring a few wineries, trying out a fabulous restaurant, beach time and motorcycling.

Looking north over Okanagan Lake and Carr's Landing from the Gray Monk vineyard.

Kin Beach in Vernon, north end of the lake, before the beach crowd descended.

A wonderful place to spend a summer day.

I've got a spot saved for you right here!

A perfect summer weekend, to cherish and celebrate. 

The dog days of summer are upon us.

 Hope this is the view for you at least one day in this heat-drenched season: