Time. There’s never enough.  I always feel behind so, I procrastinate.  Does that make any sense?  Not really.

After neglecting my “should list” for the entire morning, I took off to join up with my 83-year old buddy, Annabelle. With fourteen blockages around her heart, her time is definitely “limited” although you would never know it. Annabelle wasn’t on my “should list”. She was in my heart as a “must do”. My heart is one thing I adhere to!

She welcomed me at her door with an infectious smile, homemade coffee packed in a thermos, delicious store bought treats for later and her walker ready to be repacked.  “The doctor doesn’t want me to drive anybody,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. “So I just go by myself.”  But today I was honoured to be her chaueffer.

The conversation began in her usual way, with gratitude. Accepting her recent diagnosis, she soon dismissed talk of her health and focused on how happy she was that I would meet her friend whom she visited often and fed supper to every Sunday.

Riddled with Multiple Sclerosis and in a long-term care facility, I was escorted in with the intention that I would write about this remarkable woman who had once been a model and was a mother of five.  Resilient, determined and forthright Annabelle’s friend filled our time with stories and much laughter!

But it was Annabelle that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.  Was it the comforting words and shaking hand as she fed her companion? Was it the resourcefulness as she pulled out her own forks and plates so as not to impose?  Or could it be that little girl giggle as she heaped the whipped cream on our delicious goodies while telling an off coloured joke?  I sat feeling I was witness to something sacred.

Remembrances of her friend welled up in Annabelle as she apologized for her frequent enthusiastic interruptions. She kept telling me to write things down and I did but it was all about her.

I dropped her off and promised a coffee date.  I knew it had to be soon.  I left with a tremendous peace.  If it was one thing Annabelle didn’t waste, it was time.

I woke up the next morning invigorated.  This day I would live it like Annabelle.

The 60s are here, man!

Hey blog readers!  I am back after a brief hiatus into birthday frivolity!

The 60s are here, man!  Yes, I have officially entered that decade with humour, energy and, I must admit, a lot of sass!!  Hahaha! Two cakes later, delicious Indian food and more celebrations this week, I am looking through those rose coloured glasses into a year of major shifts and creative sparks!

My new year has always begun with the fall.  The fresh air, bright colours and shorter days invigorate me.  Returning from Edmonton on meandering back roads reminded my sister (a visual artist) and I how important it is to live with eyes open. Our perpetual seeking has given us the gift of vision whether whispered between us or shared with an audience. It’s truly not a choice but a “must do”. By the end of our drive, we both determined to do more!

***House concerts await with a combination of music I love and stories that pour out of me like exhaling air!

***Short spurts of exhilarating fun and plans for an evening concert cabaret has begun!

***My “I love you, Teacher” workshop has morphed into a beautiful presentation to nurture those frontline warriors!  Gulp!  I want to give them a PD of bolstering their confidence without a handout out!!!

As you can see, I am NOT winding DOWN but definitely winding UP!!!   I encourage all of you to do the same.

I guess I am finding my inner “pearl”.  Pretty cool, I think!  Or should I say, “Far out!”

Love to all of you groovy people!  Lana


Tai Chi and tally-ho!

Okay, so that was probably politically incorrect since “tally-ho” is a hunter’s call and Tai Chi does not represent that in any way, shape or form but basically, I AM on the hunt!  As some of you already know, 60up is all about challenging myself emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and, God forbid, physically!  Please note how I put “physically” at the very end.

Focused adept Tai Chi participants surrounded me last night.  Many years ago I had taken a few classes that removed the stage fright I thought was a necessary “process” to my acting journey. Not!!!  It was invaluable and I dropped it. Sound familiar?  Why do I do that?  Why do I drop the practices that are the healthiest?  I lose focus so easily.  That’s why when I work with children who have difficulty attending I smile knowingly.  They are my people!

So these women (mostly my age and older) moved gracefully through their routine with tremendous tenacious hearts.  The one fly in the room insisted on buzzing around my face!  It was probably attracted to my terror sweat!  Bones creaked, muscles complained and I watched the clock.  Holy crap, Batman!!!! My dear instructor, God bless her, used every minute!

I hoisted myself into my vehicle and came home, filled my face full of popcorn and reflected as my body started to seize up.  This morning, many coffees later, I reminded myself how important starting is and re-committed myself to the challenge.  Crap!  I want ice cream!

The day before, my dear husband and daughter took me on a “leisurely” paddle on the Upper Lake in the Kananaskis.  I played “African Queen” in the middle until the water got choppy. Hey, this wasn’t my plan!  The wind picked up.  I watched the two of them master the challenges with confidence as my arms turned into noodles.  “Uh honey, you know if you get tense it affects the boat,” warned my husband.  I snapped back something like, “I am just fine!” Liar.

When we got back to shore I could barely get out of the boat.  The two of them gingerly hoisted the canoe over their heads and refastened it to the car.  I sat inside warming up as my daughter took pictures of the now calm water while her father jumped into the icy cold lake.  Well at least I was out there.  It was eleven kilometers of beautiful views.  Funny what I see when I look up and get over myself.

The trumpet is sounding and I am off again!  Walking outside isn’t an option in this smoke but a stationary bicycle beckons. Tally-ho!

Lessons from my garden!

I love gardening!  Well, let’s rephrase that, I love the way I garden.

I try not to see my garden as a burden but an invitation to escape the “should” list. Yeah, I am one of those who putters about leaving some pots empty, others turned over and allowing hardier plants to flourish while saying a fond farewell to those who don’t.  Weeding comes and goes.  So what?  We have a sign now that says “Experimental dandelion farm.  Do not disturb weeds.”  That always gives passersby a chuckle.

The apple tree, not pruned and dangling, has met the large juniper forming a perfect canopy for me to sit under as I sip a cup of coffee in hopes of inspiration. Gorgeous geraniums drop petals and renew themselves with very little help from me.  The word “listen” is etched in stone to force me to pay attention and has been tucked away in a pot for me to ponder in the shade.

This is paradise.

Today I watered.  Usually I let Mother Nature do this but the predominant heat has demanded it so that my perennials will resurface next year and we found a major hole in our rainwater cube.  Nuts. I love using rainwater.  I remember when my grandma pumped water for her garden.  She even used her dishwater.  Dry southern Saskatchewan taught me to appreciate every drop!

On a recent trip to Kelowna I was gifted some lavender by one of my dearest friends. I feel like she’s with me as I doctor the new member of my garden family.  Come to think of it, there are a few plants in this meandering meadow that are very significant.  A delicate Iceland poppy reseeds itself reminding my of my dear soul sister gone too soon and a persistent yellow rose bush juts out from the fence given by my tenacious gardening mom so many years ago.  No wonder lingering here gives me so much peace.

From the sidewalk it might not look like much but my son has encouraged me to not get fussy.  I appreciate that.  Infact, the more I have left this garden alone, the better it has become.  Less interference has brought a beautiful wild beauty to it all.

Oh where is that “should” list?  I check the clock and I know there’s much to be done.  Self-employment also means self-driven but sometimes you gotta kick off those boots and let your bare feet feel the earth again.  You have to catch the flicker of a butterfly from the corner of your eye and savour the last of the raspberries in the palm of your hand.

Season change is coming….but for today…I will bask in a wee bit of heaven!

“We enjoy her exuberance….”

“We enjoy her exuberance, Mrs. Skauge.  We only wish she would save some for recess.”

Yup, that was a comment from my report card at school.  Oh I was a talker AND I had to keep moving.  No, I was never diagnosed but can you guess what kind of student I was?  I still remember my grade six teacher designed a beautiful tree in the back of his classroom with detachable leaves, each with an idea on the back.  He told me that the tree was for me so when I finished my work (quickly of course) I had something to do.  I hope you are laughing by now.  Yes, I was hyper, tightly wound, sensitive…I am sure you get the picture!

I used to get headaches from my intense playtimes, never took afternoon naps and was a bed wetter.  Ah childhood, ain’t it pretty?  My mom put me in the rocking chair beside her and sewed well into the night as I chattered or sang to her.  I was always singing.  It took a long time to exhaust me.  Summer came and I was in as many camps as my parents could afford!

It’s never a surprise to anybody that I chose theatre as a career.  Well, it chose me, actually!  I lasted about a month in the education faculty at university. Lord help me!  The pacing was too slow for me. Where could I put all that energy? The U of C Theatre department offered tons of extra curricular opportunities and varied courses.  While I was a student I worked full days in a Theatre for Young Audiences production and sang in a rock band at the same time! Even then, I wanted more of something, but what?  It wasn’t until I designed a 500 level course on storytelling that it came clear to me. I found a strange balance in teaching workshops and creating original work.  The multi-tasking life suited me, it still does!

As I write today, I am planning to be one of four facilitators in a workshop for September called “Let your Body Speak” (more on that later) and figuring out how I can dove tail my volunteerism with my freelance work.  I have committed to helping a little fellow read once a week and want to start a community kitchen.

Finding purpose in what I do and making it meaningful is key to my own personal happiness. I hate wasting time and need to know that my actions are helping in some way.  I really want to change the world with a story!

Giddy Up!

Welcome to my blog!

“60 Up!” is about hoisting myself out of old patterns, placing my feet firmly in the stirrups without hesitation and saddling up for non-stop adventures!

Wanna join me?  Let’s ride, baby!

Fast approaching my sixtieth year in this world, I promised myself to fearlessly create by seeking out new collaborations, completing my fourth book and dusting off those vocal chords that are aching to sing again. It has been forty years of being a drama practitioner and professional actor.  Time to put those big girl panties on and ride tall, no excuses!

My mother rode bareback.  I have a distinctive memory of her lifting herself onto my uncle’s horse as she held onto the bridle.  One click from her mouth and they were off through the wheat fields, full gallop. My uncle and I watched her.  He shook his head in disbelief and said, “Look at her go!”  She called over her shoulder promising she’d be back soon but she was gone for hours.   When she returned you couldn’t wipe the grin off her face.  Saddle sores came later that night.  I could hear her wince and laugh at the same time.  It was worth it!

When I need a push forward, I call on her for help and a flood of memories come through to remind me that I don’t come from a family of quitters.  That same woman taught herself how to crochet at seventy-five just because, learned how to run a cash register in her fifties and re-organized a whole card company warehouse.  Her boss cried when she left.  He told her she was the best employee he ever had.  Her tumultuous childhood was filled with horrible ordeals that sent her packing by the time she was sixteen.  Some stories I can’t tell.  “Never look back,” Mom told me years later.  “You gotta keep moving.”  And she did, right across the country!  My mom made bombs back east.  I think it suited her personality!  Even as two debilitating kinds of arthritis bent her back and sent writhing pain through her arms and legs, she persevered walking around the block daily.  She knew that moving was everything. My last memory of her before she went into the hospital for the last time was baking bread propped up with her walker.
“Well, your father’s got to eat.”  When she passed, both freezers were full!

So what keeps us from moving forward?  We’re living in challenging times.  Haven’t we always? I might need a saddle to keep my endurance up but I know if I place my mother’s spirit in my heart I can do anything!