Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Aftermath

Christmas has now come to a close. We have stopped the early drinking, waiting instead until 5. I got Marks awful cold but it came after all the guests left so total collapse was a viable option. We ended up snowed in and it was lovely. I woke up on December 24th in my bed with Mark at my side, and with all the guest beds filled with their guests. There was nothing to do but enjoy the company, play in the snow and cook, and shovel, everyone shoveled paths all over the property.

Eddy was quiet this year, he had the cold too and was rendered speechless and sniffly. Yesterday he perked up but he is troubled somewhat. He is one of those phases where he recognizes what he has lost, not just memory but strength and action. He feels concerned about his health of course but does not relate it to the cold, instead he conjures up thoughts of more severe illness, surgery and mystery pain that must be attended too. His entire family around him was not enough to distract him into levity.

Pearl played in the snow everyday, several times, suiting up and then taking it all back off, hanging her wet stuff above the fireplace. On Christmas morning, because it is a mostly adult crowd we get a late start and so rather than wait around for us slackers she went out and played in the snow before opening presents. I was shocked and pleased. I have raised a northern gal.

I missed my family this year due to weather and complexity. I will see them this week briefly. I wish my sister had been able to join us here but it just wasn't possible. Soon.

So we are inbetween the holidays, it's raining and dreary. Christmas is a blur of wrapping paper and salty dips and New Years Eve is as yet unformed. I feel a compulsion to go out and do some dancing, kick up my heels a little to welcome in the New Year, I wonder what's happening at the Legion? Polka anyone?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Annual Tree

Not sure what kind it is this year but it fit the bill. We made our annual trek next door to my neighbor Neil's micro tree lot. I called him ahead to make sure he was still in the mood to sell his little trees. He is a good guy Neil and he answered my query in the affirmative. As a bonus when we stopped off at his house to pay him the princely sum of $20 he gave us a big piece of smoked salmon. Where, I ask can you procure a really fresh tree (we cut it ourselves) and get a piece of home smoked fish thrown in for twenty measly dollars? Mana from heaven is what I say. We cut the little tree and carried it home stopping to check out Neil's frozen pond. I long to skate outdoors when the temperature dips below freezing. I did not venture out on the ice, instead we went home and decorated the tree. It started snowing at bedtime and all at once it felt like Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mountain Life

Hudson Bay Mountain, Smithers, B.C.

I grew up looking at this mountain. Our modest house on 15th Avenue in Smithers, B.C. had huge windows across it's back so that no matter where you were you could not escape seeing the mountain. I never appreciated it of course, I took for granted that I lived in a cozy little valley it never occurred to me that not everyone had a mountain with a glacier on it in their backyard. I left Smithers when I was 14 and eventually moved far away to LA. To get to the mountains from LA you had to drive a great distance. I did it a few times and always enjoyed it but it wasnt until I moved to Washington that I realized what mountains really meant to me. After my divorce in 2001 my neighbors took me skiing. It was one of these acts designed to regain my former self. I found myself feeling euphoric as I rode up in the chair looking at Shuksan rising behind me and seeing the deep valley below. The skiing itself was gruelly using my big quad muscles to hold myself up feeling that familiar burn as I turned down the hill. I felt like I was in my body doing something I had always done, it felt like home.

Driving up to Mark's the other day with a snow warning hanging over us I spied Mt Judge Howie to the north east of Abottsford. The Judge is sharp and juts up and is already covered in snow. Golden Ears next door is the same and as I look at them I can feel my excitement building. Winter is here and soon it will be time to head for Baker. Mark loves to ski too and now we are getting Pearl in on it too in a more serious way. She is physically more capable and mentally prepared for skiing now. We all get a bit giddy driving up there, it's a great family activity for us. Skiing on Sundays was what I did with my family growing up. I compare it to attending church, we did it with a similar religious fervor.

I have been checking the snow report and Baker is opening tomorrow. All hail the mountain for it is in our Canadian blood and we are drawn to it. And remember to keep your tips up just for good measure.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An egg, finally.

Finally, my wretched lazy hens have produced an egg. It's been about a month and half since one was laid, everyone was molting so egg laying was temporarily on hold. I had no idea there was any connection between these two events. A friendly 13yr old in my community filled me in on this and another egg-raiser friend of mine confirmed it. Who knew? I suppose in a perfect egg filled world not all the hens molt at the same time but this year mine did. As my egg supply dwindled I felt increasingly panicked, close to destitute egg-wise. I love the hope eggs embody, one little egg makes a nice healthy meal. I was finally reduced to buying a dozen commercial eggs and they were lame to say the least, pale yellow yolks and runny whites. These eggs are no competition to mine except that there is a constant supply of them. Anywho, I hope to rebuild my egg surplus over the next few weeks, my guests at Christmas will expect to eat a few farm fresh eggs and I will be proud to serve them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Best Gloves

I have many dirty, wet, sharp jobs that need to be performed around my place. I have found that having good gloves is like instantly possessing a super power. I have always felt invincible upon donning hand protection. I have many different pairs of gloves, there are several pairs for the garden, a few for chainsawing and woodworking, several rubber, several leather. My favorite gloves at the moment are these red ones. They are rubber and they came from the Co-op. They might be recycled or at the very least they are free-range. They can only be described as uber gloves. They are thick rubber with a cloth lining, the tops are smooth and the fingers and palms are textured, their edge is scalloped which I find charming. I use them to pick up dead moles from the living room floor. I clean the chicken house in them. I can touch almost anything with them on.

It was 42° out today and I washed the car. The red gloves kept my hands dry and toasty, I felt very smart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A True Fact

So Mark is telling me about a friend of his who just sold a house in Kits, a nice neighborhood in Vancouver near where my dad lives. Kits has become quite gentrified over the years and Mark is describing the house and what it might have sold for. As an example he compares it to my older brothers house west of Kits. I say casually, that I have never been to my brothers house. It strikes me how odd this is, then I move on to another part of Mark's story.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Death in the Family

Some of the cousins, circa 1973. Anne is seated in front of my mother. My dad is not pictured, but Jim is. We are the children.

Am back home after 4 days at Mark's place. I dropped Pearl at school and now I am trying to warm up the house and office. It's always a bit lonely and dark when I first get back home. Today is a little worse as I am reflecting on the recent death of Anne Ironside. Thoughts of death and loss abound. I'm tripping on them.

She is not technically my aunt. One of our long-running family exchanges featured this discussion about how we called them Uncle Jim and Aunt Anne for convenience and we would lapse into the discussion of the second cousins once removed thing which was the accurate description of our familial relationship. Jim is my dad's first cousin and I think their relationship was more brotherly, they have always stayed connected, their mothers were sisters. They both went to the University of Edinburgh. Jim was a surgeon, my dad went into Anesthesia. Jim married Anne after he moved to Vancouver in the 60's and she is the mother of my two girl second cousins, Andrea and Cybele. Andrea is my age and I have always known her. So Anne was my second cousins wife and she died on Saturday of complications associated with liver disease, many sad complications. She was 72.

Today I am wading around in this knowledge that she is gone and now Andrea is just like me, motherless. It was hard to call her to offer consolation because really there is nothing that can console this particular loss. You feel it in your body, in your DNA, in your womb, your bloodstream, around our brains, and in our lungs. It's so deep and feels so endless and enormous. A big empty hole blasted through your whole being.

Gently, somewhere in the journey of this horrendous realization, the pain steps away and in it's place is love and deep human connection. It hurts so much and is simultaneously so beautiful.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hot Off the Press

Pearl is getting over a cold at the moment so this afternoon I lit the fire and got the house nice and cozy. We ate a whole bunch of smoked salmon and she settled herself and Iggy into the couch under a quilt. She had a can of ginger ale, straw, remote, and a bowl of apple slices. My general approach to Pearl when she is sick is to keep her still and feed her. It generally works out, she has been much healthier this last year.

So while she was relaxing in the house I shot out to the office to work on this print. I have been building up the layers of color. I think I have at least 2 more to add. I want to add some more type to it, a question mark, dollar sign and the beautiful number 7. These are the candidates I am interviewing for this piece. Stay tuned.

Am going to sell them at UCU for $75, unframed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What got done this week

This is the cover of a 16 page insert for the Bellingham Herald advertising the upcoming Buy Local Week. I started on it Tuesday by designing the cover which was approved with little revision. I designed the rest of it on Thursday and Friday morning. It's gone to the printer now. I did do a little on work on the insert Wednesday but the press was calling me. The UCU show is coming up in 2 weeks and I am cracking the whip. I printed and glued and collated for about 4 hours in the middle of the day. I enjoy the process of producing these multiples, the trick is making time to do it, clients work most often comes first, then of course there are all the other obstacles to work. Bathing, dressing, chopping wood, speaking with the hens, it all takes up time. Today feels good. I worked efficiently on this piece and I like how it came out.

This is a lino cut I made for Jamie Bichler of Laughing Raven Designs, she makes jewelry with words stamped into various metals. I carved this the weekend Becky visited us. I parked myself at the dining room table, ate slow cooker ham and carved away. You have to go easy with it, it's very tough on the hands. I took a lot of snack breaks.

So Buy Local now and then, okay then.

Daily Walk

I try and walk daily with the dog. I generally do it after I have been sitting working for a few hours. The dog watches the time and reminds me when the hour of the walk approaches. When the weather is bad I have to be ready to go if there is a break in the rain. If it snows I have no interest in walking, not sure why. Maybe the idea of survival kicks in and exercise seems less important. No snow yet this year, in fact it has been quite dry most days. Sometimes the clouds are heavy but occasionally it's sunny and then the whole effort feels more like a gift.

As I get older I see the benefit of regular exercise in my routine. It burns away the nasty edgy bits of my anxiety. I feel virtuous doing it, virtue is a great thing for a naturally self loathing person like me to experience now and then. I sit a lot and getting out and moving around a bit keeps my body feeling relaxed and strong.

Mostly I just prefer to be outdoors and walking is easier than working. I have taken the same walk most days for the past 14 years and I never get bored. The landscape changes daily, the direction of the wind, the smell of the air. The walk is a meditation practice wherein the dog and I—connected by nylon webbing—trot along breathing in and breathing out. I watch my mind as I go along, I am petty sure the dog is functioning on a whole other plain of smell alone. It's okay, the point is this walk does a lot for both of us on many levels.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In residency here at the Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham. Waiting for friends to arrive, sitting with my little friend the laptop, my constant companion. One friend has just left, gone on to a meeting and I have a little time to kill. It's dark out now and raining and the bar is only marginally busy. They were playing Johnny Cash which always raises my spirits but honestly by this hour of the day my spirits are generally good. I have done some work, some chores and errands and listened while a friend processed some thoughts, all in all a great day. While I am alone at this very moment I am feeling quite connected to the world via the interweb and my general good vibe, which I feel is far reaching. Soon I will walk outside and feed the dog who has been in my car the whole afternoon, I will walk her and return to my command post here in the bar. It's a good reminder that everyday offers us a choice, today I chose happy, pure and simple and not to be a gluton about it or anything I may choose it again tomorrow. Just because I can.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Chapter, Same Story

Becky and Pearl

My daughter was adopted by me and my now ex-husband when she was 2 days old. We had been married for about 1o years when it became fairly obvious we were not going to get pregnant on our own. Being a pragmatist and also fiscally conservative I saw my options narrow quite comfortably to adoption, open adoption. I knew that by choosing adoption it was a matter of when not if. I set us on our course in fall of 1997 the year my mother died and miraculously by July 18th of 1998 we had our lovely daughter Pearl.

Ours is an open adoption and we see Pearl's birthmother, Becky a few times a year, mostly here but occasionally in Eugene where she lives with her partner. As I reported earlier this month Pearl's dad and his wife have just had a baby and now Becky is pregnant too. Babies, babies everywhere.

Becky came up this weekend to tell Pearl the good news in person and to see her new baby brother. We had a nice visit and when it was time for Becky to leave she and Pearl stood locked in a hug on the driveway. I was saying things like have a safe drive and call us when you get there. Pearl was answering for Becky in the plural, we will mom. I realized she was pretending that she was leaving with Becky. I think this is my biggest fear as a mother in this equation that one day Pearl will pack up and return to her biological family. I realize I am selling myself short in this fantasy and not seeing all the subtleties of the open adoption relationship.

Ideally Pearl sees no boundaries in the families she lives amongst, she sees them as a continuous loop winding around her not individual closed loops as I have had the tendency to see them . Her relationship with Becky will change as Becky's family grows and as Pearl matures. I will not be left behind as my fear suggests, I will remain her safe harbour, the one person who has not made any changes in my original commitment to her, to be here just for her until the day I die. My roll is less glamorous, I have no siblings to offer, I am not a fantasy compiled of occasional weekend visits. She will know me better than anyone, the good and the horrible, the inconsistent and the whacky. At times I feel sort of invisible in the equation but to Pearl I am the thread that holds her whole universe together, the person who makes it all happen and the person who makes it all feel okay. All the rest of it is just the marvelous fabric that makes up the story of her life.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

No Shoes for You

Boots by John Fluevog I will never own.

Every now and then just to punish myself I get online and look for shoes. Now that the weather is cooler and wetter I have fallen into my boot rut. I have 2 pairs of Blundstones, one round toe and one chisel toe. The chisel toes are my town boots and the round toes are the boots I wear daily around my place. When I am feeling fancy I pull on the Italian boots I bought last fall in NYC. They have been a good addition to the boot collection at Rowanville.

Here is the problem. The other day I was getting dressed and I was thinking I am tired of wearing all these boots I would like to put on shoes. I was struck by two things; a) I have no shoes, and b) I can't even picture a pair of shoes I would like to wear. The reason I find myself in this predicament is that I have turned off that place in my womanly brain wherein we think about shoes, seek shoes out, and buy said shoes which in turn enables us to wear fabulous shoes to every occasion. I can't buy shoes like a regular person. I have size 14 feet which makes sense as I am over six feet tall. I don't really want high heels, I am tall enough as it is now. I just want some cute girl shoes, Mary-Janes, ballet flats, mules, whatever. But they are not to be found in any great quantity or variety. Because of this I can't even really pin point what I would want in a shoe. It's too painful and wasteful to think about. What is the point of dreaming if your dream will never be realized. For years I have worn mens shoes and this has worked to a point. As long as I dress in a semi androgenous way I am fine but the second I want to look and feel like a girly-girl I feel the cold hard slap down of reality. I dont fit society's idea of what size a woman is supposed to be.

There are companies who make shoes for us tall gals but their proportions are often all off. A woman who is 5' 3" weighing about 130lbs and wears a size 8 shoe requires totally different engineering than me at 6'1" and 83kilos (I chose metric so you can't really tell my weight without doing some math, hah!). I am a bigger heavier person and I can't just slip into some flimsy shoe that has been lengthened based on a smaller design, it simply doesn't work. I found an okay shoe on the Nordstrom site last night, but that is it, one pair of shoes in the whole world that sort of look okay to me. Who knows if they will fit.

I spoke with a shoe designer awhile back about custom shoes which I could have made at great expense. They are works of art. This man worked with John Fluevog in the 70's and so the shoes have that vague Stevie Nicks vibe to them which is not quite my speed. They are gorgeous and well crafted. I considered (for about 5 seconds) learning to make my own shoes. Can you imagine what they might look like? Carved from wood with moss and fern accents.

What I really want to do is start my own online shoestore wherein I convince established shoe companies to make a few bigger sizes for women. We are getting bigger. When I was a teenager and needed shoes no one went over size 11. When I moved to LA in my late teens I discovered in some of the black burroughs larger sizes for that population and made trips to central LA now and then to get a few pairs but the styles were still lacking. I know I would be selling to a small customer base but man if I could make one other person feel happy about their big feet I'd feel vindicated.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Era

The big news in our lives this week is that Pearl has a new baby brother thanks to her dad and stepmom. She is totally smitten with the little guy and it reminds me of the sweet slow times when Pearl was small. It's going to be a big adjustment for her as she takes for granted her position at the center of the universe. Hopefully she can be helpful and not resentful and not get to feeling too looked over. Who knows maybe it's the best thing to happen to a pre-adolescent child, to have the attention taken off you while you sort out who you are. I think she'll be a great big sister as she is naturally bossy and who better to boss than a smaller brother. My own feelings aside, and they are plentiful and contradictory, this is a new life to be celebrated and welcomed into the larger expanded family that connects the past to the future.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Good Day

The work schedule is a little light these days which gets me a bit nervous. I soldier on. It was gloriously sunny today, the leaves are turning, the air is crisp and fine. I worked outside, stacking some firewood I had cut and put into the trailer. Somehow got to thinking about decay as I guess it's normal to do in fall. Seeing nothing but decomposing and freshly dead animals at the side of the road as I go on my daily pilgrimage to the stop sign and back. We have a lot of decay in our lives right now. A passing comment from my sister makes me realize all the parents are getting on in years and I start to feel the rising panic of my own eventual demise. So much for uplifting thoughts while work is slow and the sun is shining. I moved on to clean the hen-house and even managed to tidy up the barn. I found a spot in a big wooden cabinet I have to store the chicken feed in, so the mice and rats won't be tempted to burrow into the brown paper sacs during the cold winter. My neighbor Jerry brought me two bales of straw yesterday, I was almost completely out, collecting handfuls off the barn floor to put in the chicken house. I drug the two bales of straw to the barn and stacked them in the chicken tractor. I am storing the straw in an enclosure so that the nasty little hens, who leap from their pen and spend their days marauding around the barn won't scratch it into loose piles. Thoughts of death aside it was a nice day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Whole Year

Feeding the chickens today—and they look like hell by the way, everyone is molting—I remembered that it was my blog's birthday. I have managed to keep writing through a whole year. I realize none of it is polished and some it probably does not make sense to anyone but me but it makes me happy to do it. Like feeding those damn chickens, its just nice to do. They all gather around and they make happy little sounds. Quite an array of sounds too. One day I will record those. It's impossible to describe their sound with words. Mere crappy words who have no pitch.

I am not sure where all this putting down words will lead but I am willing to do it and see where it takes me.

I let the broody hen stay on her nest after all. I stopped worrying about how she would eat and drink and let her instinct guide me. Eventually two chicks appeared and I cleaned the nest of the blank shells while they cheeped around the henhouse. The mama hen did do a good job of keeping the chicks tucked under her wings. After awhile I built a little ramp so the fledgling chicks could get outside. They went cheerfully. The weather changed, a few wet windy nights and when I went to perform my daily chores they were no where to be found. The hen was back with the flock like nothing had happened.

Next time this happens I will swoop in and get the chicks into a separate nursery where they can grow up out of danger from predators (is that what got these ones?) and the other hens.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dogbite Debriefing

Diagram of Potentially Dangerous Dog

I am closing the dogbite chapter of this life in the country. Wednesday September 1oth, 2008 whilst walking my fine dog Luna, I suffered a surprise attack from a poorly socialized mutt who lives on my road. The little sneak came around the back of Luna who, had swung out in front of me on her leash. In a split second the marauding dog leaped toward the hind side of my right leg, made a big chomp, and then raced off. Feeling a bit victorious I am sure. I was deeply appalled and more than vaguely shaken.

I called Animal Control to follow up last week. As it turns out, this dog has a long-standing bad habit, of going out and terrorizing people as they pass on the road, or stop to check their mailboxes which are situated directly across from the dog's driveway. Animal control has deemed the dog potentially dangerous and so it needs to be:

1. Kenneled in a 5 sided kennel on a slab, kennel must be locked at all times.
2. When on leash dog must be muzzled. Leash holder must be 15 or older.
3. Dog must wear an orange collar to indicate potential danger.

Last but not least I sent a letter to the owners of the dog requesting reimbursement for medical expenses. I am not a suer, it was just an unfortunate accident. They have been keeping up their end of deal in containing the dog. I acknowledged this in my letter to them.

The good news is am back to my precious walks. I have a semi gross purple scar on my leg which will fade over time. There is a knot under the skin, I wonder if it's a lump of compressed fat or something. When the dog bit me, all it felt like was a little snap. I think the snap came from my skin popping open under the pressure of the dog's jaws.

I have not yet bought any pepper spray as I boasted I would and I regularly forget to carry my anti-dog-stick with me, instead I carry milkbones. When Luna and I walk up the road I can hear the dog barking at us and it's sad to think that it would have been a whole different dog if someone had just taken the time to walk it everyday, but there it sits locked in it's kennel, barking at the world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pledge Drive

So I've been listening to the NPR pledge drive all week and I am feeling smug. I have donated money over the years but not an amount that nearly matched the pleasure I get daily from listening. Last year I signed up to pay them an amount monthly, it gets taken out of my account and I don't really feel it until it's time for the pledge drive. This year is the first year I have listened to the pledge drive completely guilt free. I am light and airy, listening and laughing along with my favorite KUOW hosts. I am proudly part of the 10% who pledge to public radio. The truth is I should pay hundreds per month for what I get out of the programming. I listen a lot, it's my main source of news and culture. It's on in my office, it's on in my car and in the house. When I am away at Mark's I stream it. It practically defines me.

Here's my pitch. If you listen, send them a few bucks or get on the payment plan. It's an amazing place to go to hear the voices of this planet. It gives me hope and makes me laugh, it keeps me tuned in and turned on.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Risky Business

Eddy is home and getting stronger. It is not happening by accident, Mark is really focused on Eddy's ability to get up with assistance and walk the 25 or so steps to the bathroom. At the moment he can only walk from the bathroom door to the toilet. We wheel him from his room to the bathroom door. There is risk involved in getting him up, he could fall. His skin is phyllo dough thin and his nerves are fragile, the bathroom is made of hard objects with sharp corners. Occasionally you have to take evasive action to get him to his destination. He yips and oohs, it doesn't feel good. His legs can give out, he can sort of lose interest in what is happening and can topple over. He has fallen, but not often, he has never been hurt. When he finally arrives back in his wheelchair he always thanks us for safe delivery, no matter how rough the trip.

The greater risk lies in not getting him up, letting him lose all connection to his body, forgetting to walk. All those brain pathways getting covered over like old dirt roads. There was tremendous perceived risk in assisting him through his day but we brought him home anyway and slowly he is returning to his original semi-marginal state as we hoped he would. Our commitment is renewed to keep at him, to walk and move around despite his strenuous complaints and missed synapse. Trying to keep him moving until the end, that is the goal. None of this is easy, it's heavy and it feels awkward, sometimes it's scary but generally it feels like the right thing to do.

Risk is unavoidable, the key is to know which risks you're willing to take.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home Soon

Eddy, Mark and Luna in the Acute Elder Care Ward

We brought the dog into the ward yesterday to cheer Eddy up a bit. I am not sure if it made a dent in his glum but he did recognize her. Today he stops the antibiotics and we hope it brightens him up because he is still really bummed out. He stares at us like he wants to tell us both off with our assanine optimism. He's been doing the exercises with Mark but very grudgingly. Mark meets with a physio rep today and hopefully she can see that he does know what he's doing and the proof is in how much stronger Eddy is after the last 5 days of therapy. We have a lot of mixed feelings of course about the hospital experience but mostly we feel strongly that keeping Eddy out of care is preferable for all of us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What I'm working on

Here are a few pieces to illustrate the evolution of the Sustainable Connections Think Local First annual coupon book I am currently putting together. I got the idea over lunch with Michelle Grandy of SC. I have long used these drawings from Havana Street, generally adding sassy little captions as if they are speaking to the consumer. The idea was to create a sort of comic book page that was filled with language that felt like testimonials or those ads you used to see in the back of magazines. Ads filled with outrageous claims. As you can see I went from pencil sketch in my notebook to a b/w version I sent to Michelle to get initial idea approval. I then moved to color version and massaged the language a bit. Version 3 came back with a few comments so I lost the smoking lady and revised some copy and the title and there you have it. It should be available for sale here in the Bellingham area before too long.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hospital Stay Day 7

Eddy at the big house

Eddy has been in the hospital for a week now. He went in last Tuesday with a high fever and has been transferred to Acute Elder Care. I am trying to stay positive but it's challenging. So much of getting better depends on the sick person themselves to feel hopeful that they will recover. Eddy is not happy, he is not speaking much to us and I am reading his mood as angry and fearful. His dementia keeps him in the present so it's hard for him to recall the information about the infection he has. He can't look back at the days and see that he is feeling better as we can. He just feels the way he feels in the moment and he can't feel great. He still has a slight temperature but is off the intravenous medication. Other smaller problems are developing as well as a result of being bedridden.

We found out a few days into his stay that his own Doctor does not have hospital privileges so we have had to rely on the ward Doctor's and RN's for answers on his condition and it's all been vague and frustrating. Test results take time, the infection spread to his blood and we are not sure where it started, was it the urinary tract or the lungs. He is getting good care but I wish he was home in his room where the dog could lick his hand and he could look at his maps and pictures as he faded in and out. Instead he is in a detail-less sterile room mostly on his own, wondering why he is there and worrying about whether he will ever leave.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blog Update

My mother and I the summer before she died. She's my inspiration.

Good god, what has happened to me? I've been busy and yes distracted with things. The whole dog bite thing really had me absorbed for a while, the antibiotics were intense. It's been two weeks and my leg is way less painful, I might even take the bandaid off soon. Apparently the bite is sort of in the shape of a lightning bolt. Nice. I've been meaning to blog about my mom and motherhood but I've been really busy thinking about what it means to be a mom and what some of the more challenging aspects of the whole job are. We went away for a few days with Mark's sister and brother in law on their fabulous new boat. It was great as always. Eddy is in the hospital currently as he fell ill while we were away, fortunately Bar was helping with him. We worry about him there, it's nicer when we can just wander down the hallway to his room to check on and reassure him. Lots to think about which I will do quietly on my own.

Please enjoy this, a little something one of my dear friends sent over;

If a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it....
Pee on it and walk away.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This Dog

Luna the Dog

Thank goodness for non biting companionable dogs like this dog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Car Show Saturday


Last weekend we attended the Langley Car Show. Ever since Mark got the big red car he has been planning to go. We missed it last year. This year we were prepared. We got to Langley at about 7:30 am on Saturday morning for registration. The scene in the staging lot was impressive, we were met by makes and models of cars spanning almost 100 years, from the first electric car to vintage ambulances and pimped out hot rods. Some nut even brought an 80's 5th Avenue. It was like an equal opportunity event and with a $20 price tag, it was accessible to all and my god all were there. In the end there were about 1800 vehicles of all descriptions and years. The Langley town center streets were lined with cars, who's owners had poured their hearts, souls and funds into, and by god it was a sight to behold. There was an Elvis impersonator, perky girls touting pancakes, and pouty girls selling car shine. There was a Nascar that revved it's engine at measured intervals and like moths to a flame, the crowd flocked over at each punch of the accelerator. The excitement in the air was palpable, as was the smell of mini donuts.

So here are a few of the pics that Mark took. The cartype was the best. I fell in love with several large station wagons and some peculiar trailers. We walked around for about 3 hours in one go and just when I felt like I couldn't look at one more car, another one would catch my eye and I would once again be engrossed in the detail and design of these icons of our culture, our shiny streamlined culture.

Thanks Mark, I had the best day.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Too Much Information

Part of being the superhuman mother that I am is my ability to respond quickly to my child's queries. Take tonight at dinner for example. I had just finished eating my dinner (7-10minutes max) and I was settling in to keep Pearl company while she finished hers (10-55minutes min) and I casually mentioned that I had just started my period. Yes it's true we superhuman women can feel the exact moment the uterus lets go of its lining. Pearl asked me what it felt like and I tried to describe it in simple, not too graphic terms. Immediately she had some questions about pads vs tampons, that thing with the string hanging out was what she said. Before I know it we are up from the table and in the bathroom and I am explaining to her how tampons function, how you tear the wrapper open and which end is up. I love the teachable moment. She stops me, she needs clarification on where everything comes out, pee, poop, babies, blood. I can see she is unclear about the logistics of this new information and I feel scared, we need pictures, I start screaming, where is the book?, where is the book? I bought her an age appropriate book last Christmas about all this stuff and was secretly hoping she would take it into her room and emerge a few years later with all her questions answered. I toss the now open and plunged tampon in the trash and suggest she get back to her room temperature rice. I tried.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Firewood, finally.

I've been sort of silently freaking out about my lack of firewood now that fall seems to be fast approaching. It's way past the time that I generally find a few reasonably priced cords and coerce Mark into completely straining himself by chopping it all up in one go. With gas prices on the rise cord prices were going crazy too and a few of the local wood connections I had dried up. I have plenty of wood on my place but that takes time and a fair amount of effort. I need about 3 cords to keep the place comfortable through the winter. My sisters partner cut at least a cord in the winter, I helped by splitting and stacking it. I look at that little wood pile very proudly but it was also a reminder that I needed to get serious about getting some more. I felled 3 trees earlier in the spring, thinking I would limb them and buck them myself. I never got around to it. Last week an industrious neighbor stopped by and offered up wood cutting services. Thank the universe that watches over me.

He cut up the trees, making neat piles of the limbs and bucked rounds. I collected them up in our little trailer pulled by the rider mower. I split and stacked the lot and I think I have another cord. The wood is a bit wet and will need some time to dry, which it will do under our sweet carport. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, I got my wood further along and helped out a member of my neighborhood community. In total my neighbor cut up the 3 trees I cut down plus 3 more that were too big for me to tackle with my saw. Additionally, he brush-hogged the whole area where the pigs were last year and also cut the blackberries off my manure pile. It was heavenly.

I have a cord each of alder and cedar and now I just need a load of fir. Dry fir if possible.

Thoughts on the RNC

I have firewood to split so I am turning to my good friend Kate for commentary. Not only do we look a bit alike, we think alike. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


My folks were here at the weekend. My dad and his wife came on Sunday for lunch. It's been a little while since they were down, a year I think. I was struck, as I often am by what amazing people they are. It's not their accomplishments or their possessions, it's their joi de vivre. They are on average about 80, one is older, one is younger. They look great, they are both healthy and they are both really interesting and dynamic people. My dad bounced on the trampoline with Pearl. She was amazed that at his advanced age he had never been on a trampoline. He jumped gingerly, Pearl was elated. My stepmother Molly, read a bit to Pearl and tried not to watch her spin frenetically on her tire swing which delighted Pearl. There's nothing like making someone you love vagualy nauseous. My dad talked about a book he read recently about the Shackleton expedition, he has sailed and climbed at various times in his life. We all got talking about long sailing trips and navigation at sea. I was born into a family of adventurers and now I am married to one too. Even Molly sailed to Hawaii with dad back in the 80's, they were 3 weeks at sea. Watching them at lunch I can see how much they cherish eachother after all these years together, it must be almost 40 by now. We spent the afternoon in the yard while the sun played hide and seek. My dad threw the ball for the dog and Mark showed off the big red car. These are the people I am trying to emulate in my life and I feel so lucky to have them in my own family.

We didn't take any pictures but here's an image for you. A red Prius pulls into the driveway and my wide smiling stepmother who is petite and blondish gets out, she is wearing red high heels. When I am 80ish, this is how I want to arrive.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Feeling Better About the Dems

Okay so I am feeling slightly better about the Dems this morning. I listened to various speakers at the convention last night and I am glad to see they are ramping it up a bit, we have moved away from the warm fuzzy (sort of at least, we had to get over Joe Biden's early life crisis of losing his wife and 2 children) and are moving on to vitriol which I believe is where we should be. Madelaine Allbright was great, she is so smart and articulate. Nancy Pelosi's bra strap was showing so I couldn't really concentrate on what she was saying. Fortunately I only heard Bill Clintons speech in the car and did not have to suffer the effects of watching him speak with the requisite cuts over to Hill looking adoringly on. I kept wondering if they stay in the same hotel suite for these outings or if Bill gets a room in the basement so the trollips and high rollers can come and go with impunity. He was pretty good, and should use his last shreds of credibility for the good of the party. He is still a great speaker. Beau Bidon was a bit stiff, I am sure it was nerves and Joe Biden was of course himself. The last little bit where they were all standing on the stage and Jo had his arm around one of female teenage grandchildren, he lent over and gave her a really deliberate kiss on the lips which seemed sort of creepy and out of place. All that family stuff at the end always feels so forced. I switched the channel before the closing prayer and ended the night with a crass episode of the Family Guy. Ah America and it's rich pageantry. Go Dems!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What I want Hillary to say tonight...

She should tell these lackluster Democrats to kick some Republican ass. After last nights speech, I care less about Michelle Obama's heartwarming love for husband (of course she loves him, she's giving up her life for his career) and more about which strategies we the people need to employ to get the vote out, get Democrats voting and Republicans switching sides. Oh yeah, and Hillary should suggest that everyone stop praying at the convention. And last but not least she has to explain to her dogmatic supporters not to vote for McCain, it makes no sense. Vote for change, not for spite.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Safe Passage 05

The day before you died when we went to see your doctor, he asked you a few questions mostly about the Methadone you were taking. It was a liquid and I gave you about 10ml. per day, I gave it to you in the morning before a warm, soothing protein shake. It helped to keep you from feeling nauseous once the drugs kicked in. Your doctor decided to switch you to Morphine because we felt we needed more on hand and the Methadone was hard to get. We had to go to Canada to get it and you didn't like the clinic. I think you felt people thought you were an addict, there was no easy way to tell you had cancer beyond the fact you were very thin. You don't like the Morphine, it makes you constipated and I worry that eventually you won't be able to swallow the hard pills. It doesn't occur to me that I can crush them up in jam as you did when I was small, before I could swallow an aspirin.

After the trip to the doctor I got the large morphine prescription filled via the Pharmacy in Campbell River. The bag of pills rode across on the ferry with the crew. Back at your house we watched "Cold Comfort Farm" but you were sleepy and uninterested. I call Catriona from the extension downstairs and let her know what is going on. Before bed I try to write a letter on your behalf, to a friend from college in Scotland. It's March 2nd and your Christmas letters remain unanswered.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Business Communications

Don't you wish that some of your personal communications could be as clear and direct as the ones you have with your business associates? Phone rings. Client says hi. You say hi. Client makes request. You say yes. Client says thanks. You both hang-up and go back to what you were doing before the phone rang. You think nothing of it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Summer is winding down and I am making friends with the idea of fall. I've given summer a solid effort and have reaped the rewards of a light work schedule and endless warm days. I can feel September nearing, my senses are sharpening with the crisping of the air. It's not completely cool yet but I can feel the odd patch of cooler air as I stand picking and eating ripe blackberries in the yard. While I am sad to see summer end I am also ready to get back to work. I have been drifting happily but now the directionless nature of my days is getting to me. I need a few deadlines to snap me out of my lazy state of mind.

They will come soon enough, school will start and we'll put our beach towels away for another year. It's been a really good summer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Girlhood

I digress.

I'm feeling slightly fragile at the moment and it's my own fault. Try as I may to pin it on say, my beloved husband. I have been slack about nurturing my girlhood and while I like to feel I am above all this stuff, I am not. I want to feel attractive and well put together, everyone does. We all have beautiful fashionable friends to whom we compare ourselves and it is never good. I spent the night in Seattle this week with such a friend and I came away feeling really shabby and unkempt. My girlhood is easily wounded (isn't everyones). I see now why I have been feeling so needy. I need a haircut, a pedicure and perhaps some other unspeakable but effective beauty treatments. I will feel new and shiny again, like a good luck penny. It seems so superficial but it's really true, we feel better when we honor our girlhood a little bit. When we feel better about ourselves we attract more attention which is what girlhood is all about.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Garden Update

I feel the time is right to reveal what happened with the garden project from earlier in the spring. I think it is safe to say I have learned many things about my commitment to growing food. We had high hopes for an abundant garden where participants could drop over, plant a few seeds, pull a few weeds and in the course of time harvest a bit of veg. Seems good right?

In reality I could never make it to the farm more than twice in a week and often when I got there I was overwhelmed by what needed to be done and also not sure how to do things like mix soil, space seeds, run a rototiller. Pearl was not as stoked about the whole experience either so when we went to the farm we generally ended up visiting the river and throwing stones instead of doing actual farm work.

By June when it was still frigid out I swore I would always have a CSA share and try to support a farmer regardless of how many of the veggies languished in my fridge. Farming is fucking hard work. There is no disputing this. I planted 3 100ft rows of beets and it nearly killed my back. I see now that I put the micro seeds too close together and the beets are crowded.

Here's the catch. The fact that the beets are growing, and the fact that today we harvested carrots that Pearl planted draws me deeper into the whole process. We dropped those seeds into soil and they miraculously grew. I asked Pearl what she thought of the carrots she grew and she said they were the best she had tasted, and they are.

So here's the plan for next year. In February I will join a CSA, I am not sure who's yet, but someone from my immediate area. This will be a hedge against my tendency for laziness and over ambitious plans. I will also endeavor to grow some stuff BUT I will do it at my own place so I can tend the garden easily without having to make a trip in the car. I have berries, cherries and apples growing here and if I could grow a few things either in a garden or greenhouse that would be great. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Because I'm a white person...

and it's friday night and I am listening to NPR while I work on my MacBook I heard about this awesome blog to help me laugh at myself.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cleaning the Office

My days of summer slacking are coming slowly to a close, there is work to be done. As is often the case after a long period out of my office, it gets into a state that is not entirely conducive to much productivity. I am thinking in these terms because a) I have someone coming out in a few weeks who has never met me before and B) I have a considerable list of undone tasks. This is how the other shoe dropping feels. I do welcome these swift kicks, that force me to make sense of the residual crap build-up here in Rowanville. I make the cleaning an exercise, even though I feel completely guilty about doing it rather than working. But isn't cleaning, working? It's not exactly fun, it doesn't really rate as high as sailing for example. Somehow if it is not billable, it is not valid. In reality, the process of cleaning is necessary to re-prioritize, to view things with new eyes, to re-connect with what I was thinking about before the break. So I'll go at it hard, clean the whole place, make it shiny and then get down to work. It's like an investment in myself.

I'm moving out some painfully old technology. Apple Laserwriter Select 360. A ZIP DRIVE! ( I had to really yell that one) It's sad. Not quite sure what to do with the refuse just yet. This will be another of my Toward Zero Waste inquiries. I guess I can take it all to the Restore. Will ask around.

Watch out les dust bunnies!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer Must Do's

Everson Days Parade Spectators

We are back home now after 48 action packed hours away. It's amazing how much you can pack into two days if you are like me and have totally committed yourself to the pursuit of fun and happiness. I know I have mentioned often and at great length what a horrendous summer I had last year. Many things converged at once and together with shitty weather and a mysterious sinus condition these "things" conspired to strip me of my summer happiness. But not this year. We have sailed, we have cottaged, we have swum in a variety of bodies of water, we have picnic-ed with friends, we have attended parades, we have barbequed, we have been burned by the sun and stung by mad bees. We have said good bye to old friends and hello to new babies. We have had a few too many margueritas and have fallen asleep in the movies. We have eaten Nutella sandwiches. All in all it's been consistently excellent. Next on the list is camping, a trip to the fair and another few days vending at the market. Ahh the paradise that is these 8 weeks of Washington summer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Look

Okay, I think this will be my new look for awhile. Comment if you like or just keeping reading. In case anyone was feeling sorry for me that I didn't get my Vietnamese soup yesterday, I got some today and it was excellent. I got the number 22 at the firm behest of the owner. It was chicken and noodles. It was cool. It came in 3 pieces, a bowl of broth, a box of cooked noodles with the chicken and green onions, and a bag of bean sprouts and mint leaves. It also had a small container of hot sauce. It was delicious and a really good deal at $7. Mmmm. Finally I know what Pho Abbotsford #1 (oriental noodle house) is all about.

Under Construction

Mark just busted me on my no image in the header of my blog. He has this notion that because I make my living in the visual arts that perhaps my blog should be fancier. He is right of course and the fact that he was standing very near me as he said it has me convinced, so bear with me while I smarten it up.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Slow Thursday

I feel like I am in super slow motion today. I think this is how a snake feels on cool mornings as he slithers slowly to the middle of the road to sun himself, only to be hit by a car. It's gray and raining now and everything has slowed down. Summer is on pause until the weekend we hope. We drove around Abbottsford today in search of a cabinet to house 8 car batteries. We found nothing suitable and will have to improvise something. I wanted special vietnamese soup from the old Mehak's but we never quite got there. I had Jays pizza instead even though I had sworn off it because it is made from everything I resist. Mark got 2 slices and I was going to have one little bite so I didn't keel over from low blood sugar and before I know it I am eating a whole small piece that the kid behind the counter gave him for free because the kid had cut it too small to go into the case. We went 2 Re-Store type places, saw some really bad old kitchens, bought some paint and went home. The traffic was hellish everywhere and I kept feeling like I wanted to nod off and wake back up when the sun was shining again.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I slept for too long last night. This morning I woke up around 6am and then went back to sleep for another hour. In that hour or maybe it was just a few minutes I dreamed I was at some far off space camp run by Arnold Schwarzenegger which morphed into one with the Obamas. They seemed to be in the white house although the election was not over yet. Barauck was in bed and I was sitting on the end of the bed drinking in the greatness of this upstart when Michelle came over and sat down. I noticed Baraucks feet were bare and he was being a bit wiggly and silly so I suggested to Michelle that we spill some cold water on his toes. She giggled and we searched around under the covers for his missing foot. Eventually there was a photo op and we all stood together but not until Michelle had adjusted one of her shoes which had developed a tear. As she bent down I noticed how thin all of their ankles were, His almost thinner than hers. The picture was taken and I ambled off into the crowd thinking, wow I am now one of those regular people getting caught up in all this excitement. I went back to the kitchen in search of something to drink.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Safe Passage 04

The Ferry

On the little ferry between Quadra Island and Campbell River we run into the guy who drywalled your basement suite. Your plan was to supplement your income with a modest B & B business. The drywaller is tall and blond with a long pony tail. We saw him 2 days ago outside the little market on Quadra. He said Oh Sally you are not well. I don't remember what your response to him was all I could hear was how lyrical his statement was.

Oh Sally you are not well.
Oh Sally you are not well.

On the ferry I give the drywall guy the remainder of the ferry passes you have in the glove box of your Jetta. I don't try to explain to him that you won't be coming back. He is grateful for 8 free round-trips to town. The short trip is uneventful and I don't think about you telling me of your earlier plans to slip off this ferry under cover of darkness and disappear into the channel.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Better Today

I woke Eddy up yesterday morning and he seemed pretty cheerful initially but by the time Mark went in to say good morning he was in tears. He couldn't say why except to say he felt really sad. Home care arrived and Mark and I left for the day a little heavier with worry for Eddy. He is in this precarious state of awareness and, well dementia. He grasps what he has lost and those are unbearably sad days. We had a terrific sail, in a way in homage to the once strong Eddy. By the time we got home he seemed fine and today when I woke him up he was his normal cheerful slightly confused but lucid self.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I've been meaning to see if Eddy can still play scrabble. Despite his dementia and perceptive inconsistencies he has retained his large vocabulary and his ability to spell in English and French. He is good at crossword puzzles as long as he is only required to answer the questions and not have to read and fill in the tiny squares. His motor skills can be erratic or non existent. Sometimes he just forgets he meant to move. We got the board set up, Pearl determined who would go first and we set up the play order. Me first, then Pearl, then Eddy. Pearl designated me the score keeper. The game went like this; Pearl and I would take our turns then Eddy's turn would come, one of us would ask him if he had a word to play, he would look at the board and start to de-construct what was there, seige became neige, sail became mail. He could see some words in his tiles but could not link them to the board. Pearl and I took turns taking his turn for him, double checking with him the spelling of the word.

A game of scrabble can last a pretty long time. Mark mowed the whole lawn and did some trimming while we soldiered on. I started cooking dinner and Pearl wrote down a few scores. By the end Eddy was listing a bit, his blood sugar was low and he was really struggling to make sense of the game. His eyes looked watery. We had completely pooped him out. I can't remember who won, we all ended up with a few extra tiles, rogue consonants defying placement.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Safe Passage 03

The Bank

Before we leave the island for the last time we make a stop at the bank. It's not open yet and we have a ferry to catch so I ask them to let us in. One of the women in the bank recognizes you and unlocks the door. We conduct your business in chairs at her desk, you are too weak to stand at the counter. When you look at me you seem small in your clothes, you're trying to communicate something to me with your eyes, it feels like you are saying I need you to take the wheel now. The woman from the bank suggest some things regarding your accounts that might make it easier for me to manage your money. She realizes you are sick and not getting better, I am trying not to think about it, staying firmly in each moment. We empty out your safe deposit box and I sit patiently while you sign your Canada Savings Bonds over to cash. Your signature is weak and uncharacteristic of your former self.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

May Contain References to Shit

The creative process can be like taking a massive crap. You eat information and emotional intention, the fiber of your being. Sometimes this happens over months or even years (in my case years). You process it all diligently. Creating a palatable form, observing reasonable parameters, you choose color, cadence, words and images. Time passes. Sometimes quickly, mostly not. And then, often when you least expect it, you get this uncomfortable albeit familiar feeling, an undeniable need to evacuate all of it, out of yourself and into the public domain. Hoping like hell, it looks more like what you intended than a pile of actual shit.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Safe Passage 02

Do you remember the day that you died?

I do. It was late winter and we drove from your place on Quadra Island to Nainamo where we boarded the ferry for Tsawassen. I crawled into bed with you that morning seeing you were suddenly much weaker and more distant. I laid behind you and hugged your whole body with mine. I said, I don't want you to die. It was the only time during those last six weeks that I acknowledged you were slipping away. You said you weren't dying and I helped you get up and go to the bathroom. I gave you yogurt for breakfast, you ate it on the couch and spilled a bit on your cotton turtleneck. I can't remember what happened to that shirt, it went away with you and the yogurt stain never to be seen again.

Safe Passage 01

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh the humiliation

We celebrated the 4th on the 5th this year. I was totally organized and had picked up some fireworks from the local Lions who sell them in the Everson Market parking lot from a plywood hut. I bought them there last year too and was trying to avoid the same fate. We foolishly bought a "Family Friendly" pack and were really disappointed. Too few explosions, no reports, too many sparklers, too much smoke, not enough bang. This year when I went to buy the arsenal I looked at everything pretty closely and settled on the "Big Value Bag" ($21.98), this maybe where I went wrong. The words Value and Fireworks should not be used in the same sentence. There is no value inherent in Fireworks, you might as well be burning money. That being said we want some bang for our buck, no such luck.

Mark lit the first firework. It was an impressive package, thick column, felt heavy, lots of black powder I thought. As it started to ignite we waited expectantly and watched patiently as the thing spit up showers of sparks. No explosions, no whistles. We felt let down. We moved on and piece after piece shot sparks and little else.

Apparently I did not get the militia pak as I had wanted and instead got the super lame, extremely safe for amputees, shower pak. One of the pieces was actually named "Golden Showers". I believe I experienced the shame and humiliation one might feel during a real golden shower. Ultimately what saved me were the sparklers and Bees. Mark made a good show of them for Pearl and we all agreed that next year we would send Mark to the Res with at least $50 to get the loot. I tried, hopefully the gang will forgive me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Mark, Pearl and the Whales enjoy a dip in Centennial Pool

It is a tad rainy today but for 6 days previous to today it has been absolutely, top-shelf summer fun. I do hate to go on about the good time I am having, but what else do I have to talk about? I am all out of misery. Can't muster a grumble, a snear, not even a little pout.

It started last Saturday with a little sail in Mark's boat up at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. The wind was consistent and we happily tacked back and forth in the bay. At one point we were out pacing a wind-surfer which pleased Mark tremendously. After retrieving Luna from the dog day care we ended up at Moderne Burger for some restorative protein. This place makes a great burger platter and has been closed due to renovations for the past 18 months. We had a serious jones.

Tuesday found us celebrating Canada Day with a parade that came conveniently close to the townhouse. We were at the end of the parade route and all the floats got backed up in front of us. It was cool at first seeing the displays up close but it soon became awkward, we had to keep waving to the the now stationary patriots.

It was really nice and hot. Pearl ran wild in the complex play area and mid afternoon we hit the local outdoor pool. I think Canada may be a more civilized country because of the easy access to parks and facilities. The Centennial Pool was recently widened and spiffed up. We all took turns on the rope swing. That was a personal reminder that I am a sad, weak-armed softy. I can't really make out the form my body took as it skidded along the surface of the pool before crashing in, hippo comes to mind. I am trying not to think about it. Pearl was graceful going in. Mark made us all laugh by employing some small plastic whales as flotation devices clenched in his freakishly long toes.

Finished the catalog and am now embarking on a web project and new Coupon Book cover. Samuels sign is in the process of going up. I am continuing to feel light and open, ideas around every corner.

Pearl turns the BIG 1-0 shortly. Big pause here as I try to organize my thoughts to say something really profound (feel free to get up and refresh your drink) but ultimately it changes everyday and I am just getting better at how I react to the ebb and flow. She's a really nice human being and I am trying to do her justice.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


After the coolest spring since 1917 it is now sweltering. We are on day 2 of above 80° temps. I have never been so happy to see my feet swell up. I am sweaty and sluggish and thirsty for cold bubbling beverages in tons of ice. I love feeling hot.

The heat does wonderful things to common people. Yesterday in Vancouver I saw countless women in thin sun dresses strolling, pale skin and curves a plenty and lovely every one. We saw naked infants in their parents arms cooling off in the street, small limbs enveloped in warmth. Today the kids in the complex are running wild with their super soakers and penny whistles.

For the record I refuse to complain about the newly arrived temperature. I am embracing it like life. Gotta keep my core temp up while I can.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

From the Radio

I heard this on the radio yesterday, I think it sums up many things

It's the birthday of poet Frank O'Hara, (books by this author)born in Baltimore, Maryland (1926). He wanted to be a pianist when he was growing up, but while he was a student at Harvard, he met the poets John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, and they persuaded him to write poetry too. He moved to New York City in 1951. He got a job selling post cards at the Museum of Modern Art, and he slowly worked his way up to become one of the curators.

He fell in love with the abstract art of the 1950s, and he believed that poems should be improvisational, like action paintings. At the height of his career, he wrote constantly and stuffed his poems into his desk drawers, often forgetting about them.

Frank O'Hara wrote, "oh god it's wonderful/ to get out of bed/ and drink too much coffee/ and smoke too many cigarettes/ and love you so much."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Just coming down from an intense jag of work which was happily punctuated Saturday night with a nice solstice party here at Rancho Relaxo. As mayor of Rowanville I am always striving to offer my guests a totally pleasurable visit to the country (seriously). Luckily the weather was fine and we all sat outside around the bonds of fire. Mark launched a few bottle rockets, freaking out Eddy and the dog, but delighting everyone else.

It feels like we have successfully coaxed summer into gracing us once again. Maybe it does work–to invite your friends over–to call summer on all together, let it be known that it is missed, like a cherished friend. It felt good to do what our ancestors did and to really feel the desire for the sun. And the sun arrived like a neat package, up at 4 and no questions asked the next morning. I feel like an ad for the power of prayer.

It's no wonder I feel so darn happy.

Friday, June 20, 2008


This is my friend and client Betsy Cassell of Intertwined Designs. We met many years ago on the Farmers Market board and she lived at my place for about year. She was a great tenant and is a good friend. I have watched her business grow over the years through her hard work and dedication to creating a life she wants live. Needless to say I have a ton of her clothes.

Before I had a kid I wore clothes that needed ironing. Nowadays if I can wear a shirt non stop for 3 days (this includes sleeping too) I feel like I am really ahead of the game. Hemp Jersey is a great fabric it gets softer as you wear it and I am pretty sure it doesn't smell (too badly) when you sweat. The other day I was going for a walk and I had on one Betsy's Kriss cross tops with 3/4 sleeves, I was a bit cool so I threw on my new Racer. I realized this was ridiculous and whipped them both off and chose the racer on it's own. It was cozy enough and I looked super fast.

Today I am clad in a rust Scooper, long sleeves of course due to the cool summer we are having, with jeans and slip on keens. It's a great look and suits my rural, stay-at-home, DIY lifestyle. The best thing about Betsy and her clothes is how they embody her kick-ass lifestyle of hard work and playing hard too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No subject

It's been a few days since I have had a coherent thought to blog about.

The first 3 days of school vacation went well. I was relaxed fully in mom mode, making plans for what we can do this summer while I juggle working 5 hours per day. I think it's going to be fine.

I am at Mark's currently I just had to snap this photo of our precious German engineered hound who follows me around a little too faithfully. Above her is a recently rescued painting I did in art school (400 hundred yrs ago). We got a call or an email perhaps a few months back from my step mother asking that I or Mark stop by to collect the residue of my early art school days. I was vaguely horrified at seeing all that stuff again but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Mark picked this blue faced guy to put on the wall in the spare room where I work and I sort of like him. My natural tendency is to hate or be highly critical of anything I made during the 80s but this sort of fits in here and reminds me of the painting class where I produced it. We met in an annex building down the street from my college in downtown Los Angeles and we did a new painting every class. It was really fun, we went through tons of canvases. Maybe for a summer activity Pearl and I can take turns painting one another.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How much would you pay for a higher education?

This was in my email today and I love it. I realize it's a mistake but what a wonderful one, it offers a whole new way to read and you feel challenged while you are doing it and so you are obviously worthy of the fake degree. It feels like a wonderful meaningful college typography exercise, a non-poem. The new word groupings are fantastic, makes it impossible to scan and read quickly so instead you notice the shapes of the letters and the lines and groupings they make and it becomes a whole picture instead of a paragraph. I love when I can notice my brain switching from verbal to visual.

That's what I saw, what does the internet see?


My friend Brian sent this

What is up with us redheads?


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wonder Drug

I am pretty sure the vitamin D therapy is working. I took 50,000IU twice a week for 4 weeks and while I hate to go all religious on y'all I truly feel like something vaguely miraculous has occurred. My low level gnawing depression seems to be subsiding.

I joked about this last week but perhaps there is some truth to it. I am descendant from Northern people, people who have suffered since time immemorial from a lack of light. When I was a kid living in Northern B.C. winter days were pretty short, we spent a lot of time looking forward to spring break-up. A month ago I considered taking anti-depressants almost as a last resort. I am a really positive person but my ass was seriously dragging no matter what uplifting messages I gave myself.

Last summer when I needed my D July was shit. We had 21 days without sun. That's not summer that's some sort of climate change apocalypse. The depression took hold then and has remained, ebbing and flowing until a few days ago when I realized the tide was receding on the grayness I was feeling. I actually feel good despite the cool and crappy weather we have been having. So needless to say I am going to be eating vitamin D like Hot Tamales, and enjoying my fabulous life as much as is legally possible.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sort of Kinky

This came to me today. Sounds pretty hedonistic, an interesting approach to going green.

Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned “green professional,” now is the time to learn and network with your peers. Come join us poolside at the Flamingo Resort in California Wine Country as we discover how saving the planet is the greatest business opportunity an idealistic entrepeneur (their typo not mine) will ever have. Check out more at

Yowser right? Am I right?


Living With Dial-Up

The book is finished, for now. I had to FTP the three fairly huge PDF files to the client today. As the internet knows (because it sees my computer like an x-ray machine) I am on dial-up here at Rowanville. This is a topic of great discussion for me and anybody I encounter who has any understanding of what I do for a living, or anyone who lives near me and suffers the same digital disadvantage. Living with dial-up is like living with impotence, only they have Viagra. I have nothing, no options, just resignation that anytime I need to send a few large files or receive the same, I have to pack up my laptop and hit the road. I can handle things under about 10megs but it still takes forever. If the files are under 50megs I go to Pearl's school and sit in the library on small chairs. If the files are larger like 100megs, I have discovered the library in my town of Everson is best.

So off I went to the library after dropping Pearl at school. I arrived at 9:07am to discover that the library didn't open until 10:00. I sent a few emails from the car and then went over to the coffee place which is owned by one of the moms from school. While I was inside I ran into a woman who used to babysit Pearl now and then. She works in one of the local bank branches, the same one that DoubleMRanch did work for a few years back. We had an enlightening discussion, it was good to see her looking so well. I got my Tea and headed back to the library. I let the dog out for a quick pee in the empty lot next to the library. Two dogs barked at us while Luna sniffed at their fence, hackles up. I strolled around the lot a bit and looked at the bushes by the library. There was some sweet looking rhody I might have to ask my friend Binda about.

At 10:00am they opened the library doors and in I went along with several other people who had been slowly gathering in the parking lot. I picked my spot, back of the library but facing forward, enabling me to key an eye on everything. Happily I had conversations with several people I know from my community. My neighbor who is a retired art teacher and I discussed the problems we have on the road with unlicensed 4 wheelers ridden by high school boys, and... wait for it...dial-up!. I also spoke to a couple of the women who work at the library, both artists. Another photographer friend stopped over and told me about a show of his work in Bellingham. I spoke with 3 strangers briefly. I ended up working for about 3 hours on the final section of the book while the first two sent. I downloaded some other job materials and finally sent the last book files.

To some the inconvenience of not having hi-speed is daunting, an annoyance, something that must be fixed. It is almost a point of shame and embarrassment to me at times. But today, it felt like an irresistible opportunity for enrichment and connection with my community.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rainy Monday

Well the weekend was reasonably dry but today the deluge returned. After a good day of work in the office we are all (me, Eddy, Mark, Pearl, Iggy, Luna) hunkered down in the house. Mark has lit the fire and we are about to eat some pork burritos with strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert. Then we are going to curl up in a ball en mass and hope that tomorrow is a better day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One of the Things I Designed this Week

This is for Sustainable Connections Home and Landscape Tour later this month.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Week That Was

The juggle is not over yet. I am halfway through the book I am toiling over. It is coming together but with all activities that involve organizing information in a visual framework, anomalies arise and have to be dealt with. Blocks that must be stumbled over and righted. Thank heaven for these long days on my own when I can focus on little else than the project at hand.

Have not been to the farm for days, have not spoken to Nancy. Will try and get down there over the weekend to finish what I started in the greenhouse. All the starts need to be planted out in the field, the pumpkins, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, the kale. God save the kale. At least all this shitty rain we have been having is good for my beet seeds because that watering by hand was really sucking. I have a whole new respect for CSA programs at the moment.

Had to light the wood stove tonight, the house was freezing. I refuse to burn anymore propane in there, it's June for pete's sake. The sun did come out late in the afternoon and I went out and let it shine right on me. Mike and Val stopped by with the kids and I gave them some of the surplus eggs. Ever since they moved off the property I have really had to work to give all the eggs away. My new tenant is allergic, dang!

Look at the time, it's time to lay this redhead down. Have a good sleep internet, oh right, you never sleep. Poor thing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bloggy Hell

I want to blog. I should blog but I have 2 major projects I am working on, and several more in the wings. I must be attentive to my process because it is during this time of total work detail saturation that many problems get solved. I am not the type who can sit down and force myself to solve a problem, solutions for me drop from trees somewhere in my creative brain. I don't know why and I never know when it will happen. So for now there will be no blogging.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Eddy in the Morning

This morning when I went in to say good morning to Eddy he was bright and eager to ask me if he had been having some sort of memory lapse. He was very animated and spoke with purpose. He could not quite find the words to describe what he was feeling and instead he rubbed at his head in a swirling motion, demonstrating the confusion. Trying to piece it together I give no answers, he is feeling grateful for who he is and the opportunities available to him because of his skills and abilities as a dress designer, a pattern maker. He could get a job in the needle trade he said, fixing sewing machines, because he has to have a job anything to provide for his family. He looks out the window and sees the old family farm in Guelph-he is reminded there is a living to be made on the farm as well.

After awhile I remind him that he has some short term memory loss which he seems to accept but does not dwell on. He points out that he knows me and my name and he knows the dog. All in all he says he's in pretty good shape and position, he looks out the window again and says I have a car down there, I can get around. (Note here; the car is mine, Eddy has not driven in 5 yrs).

I am fascinated by his lucid moments.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It