Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rites of Spring

Spring has been slow in coming this year but it is coming. There are blossoms everywhere and the Robins, the first sign of spring are back. Their sweet song fills the air as they duck and dive not so coyly attracting their mates. One aspect of their mating ritual I have observed over the years is the practice of playing chicken. They seemingly stake out an empty stretch of road where, when they see a car approaching, swoop down, nearly missing the speeding vehicle. All spring long I drive around cursing the little lunatics as they carry out these daredevil antics. Every now and then they misjudge their maneuver and end up dead on the road. On my way home from dropping Pearl at school today I was filled with my own spring induced euphoria and smacked not one but two of these symbols of spring. If it is good luck to spy the first Robin of spring is it even better to strike two of them with your car?


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why I Vend

As the weekend approaches, specifically Saturday when I often vend at the Bellingham Farmers Market I have to pause and remind myself why I do it. I work alone and have done so since 1994 when I quit my job at A&M Records in Los Angeles. I get a little kooky spending all that time on my own and I decided a few years ago that I should get involved with the Market. First I was on the board and donated my time as a designer. That turned into a paying gig and after a few years I decided I wanted to try my hand at vending. It's like playing store but with real money and credit cards. Many Saturdays between April and October I show up at 8:30am with my car laden with things I have concocted in my studio to sell. The real highlight though beyond selling things I have made is the connection I feel to the Market community. I don't attend church, I don't really volunteer, I live a limited existence going between my house and Mark's house and Pearl's school.

The market is open for 5 hours between 10am and 3pm and it is non stop chit chat with customers, vendors and of course friends. I have been bringing Pearl with me too, not every week but some. I get great pleasure in watching her world expand via the Market community as well. The monetary gains may be dubious but the wealth of connection is palpable.

See you saturday.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just Grow It!

This is my good friend Nancy. She has a gift when it comes to growing food. Nancy has a great sense of what to grow. I think we have similar taste palettes. She loves purple vegetables, so do I. Life as a farmer is a tough one though and over the past few months we have been talking about the farm and the act of farming and of providing people with food.

For the past few years I have been involved with one CSA or another. Harmony Farms (Nancy's farm) was by far the best for my tastes. This year I decided I wanted to participate a little more in the whole process of growing the vegetables and Nan has been kind enough to invite a few of us over to farm. I've never really grown much food successfully so I feel that it's time and I am looking forward to participating in an activity with purpose that allows me to get my hands down into the earth.

Pearl and I popped down to the farm last night, it's near the Nooksack River in Everson. Nancy showed us around a bit and we talked about what needs to be done to get planting. I want Pearl to learn the importance of being able to grow food. When we were in Vancouver the other day I noticed several gardens in peoples yards, tight spaces where lawns had been, now tilled up earth ready for planting. Vines tied, perennial vegetables acting as decorative borders. Every inch of space dedicated to the effort. And we out here have space, it's disgraceful not to grow a little, eat well, and put some away.

So when I am not home on summer evenings, you'll know where I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Idea Bombardment

Man o man what a morning. Thanks to NPR my little brain is all awhir. First of all I started my day by meeting a real estate agent in my little town of Everson to view a building that has housed several restaurants over the last few years. It was huge inside and very strangely laid out. Empty restaurants are sad places but I am happy to report it was clean and pretty bright. He walked me around and even gave me a few useful handouts about the building and about the restaurant business generally. I felt overwhelmed. What am I thinking. He also tipped me off that another restaurant adjacent to this failed one is for sale. Interesting...

When I got back to the office and settled down to work I heard (again on NPR) a great piece by Julia Sweeney on Earth Day. Happy Earth Day by the way. She is apparently switching her focus from comedy to Science. Now this really struck me. I like Julia Sweeney, she seems smart. She has been a performer for some time and perhaps like me got a bit bored with what she was doing and what does she do? She turns to Science not the hospitality industry. Fodder for deep thought.

I too was once more interested in Science. For years when I was young if you asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, the answer was be a Pharmacist. What I am trying to figure out is was this answer due in large part to my dad owning a building that housed the local drugstore and because he was a doctor we had intimate knowledge of the mezzanine level where the Pharmacy was and it was also the place I bought all my candy.

Now I am listening to a guy who has written a novel about our culture returning to an agrarian economy without oil or electricity. You know what? It excites me. No computers, only handcranked presses, and treddle sewing machines, all the work we would have to do is to grow our own food and figure out how to preserve it through the winter.

World Made by Hand: A Novel
World Made by Hand: A Novel by James Howard Kunstler

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Night RoundUp

Sunday night at Rancho Relaxo. After a few days with Mark and Eddy at the Ecopod Complex I am back in my own domain with young Pearl. So nice to be here, although it's always bittersweet as I miss Mark something fierce. Life up there is like candyland, I watch endless TV, listen to streaming radio, surf the hi-speed fun-filled internet, eat stuff I normally avoid, work with reckless abandon because I can, and snuggle with Mark. Occasionally we take the dog out for a walk or ride around in Mark's big red car threatening smaller fuel efficient vehicles. It's heavenly really.

The Ranch is a different scene. Here we are all about kale and dial-up and who ate two of the hens. I can't even watch TV because the CBC is showing hockey playoffs and the rest is just junk. Thank goodness for Netflix and the availability of the super cheap 5L box of wine. If I am lucky the cat will sleep with me, but there are no guarantees.

Life is good and filled with interesting contrasts.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Back in Abbottsford after our big trip to town. We went over to Bar's new pad and dropped off her mail. She just got back from England with Paula. We ate some yummy quasi middle eastern food while Luna barked wildly at us. The restaurant guy asked if Luna wanted some lamb. Is the Pope Catholic (and hiding a giant ass under his robes) I thought to myself. We walked around on Main for a bit then went back to Bar's for tea. Saw some really good bathtubs and fancy taps. On the way back to suburbia we stopped at the big fabric store across from Ikea. I bought a pattern, some nice linen with a springy print, and some bizarre polyester print to make summer lounge pants. This print caught my eye as prints always do and I just really couldn't decide if it was incredibly ugly or really really cool.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Blog Envy

So I have been surfing around the blogisphere and I am feeling simultaneously envious and miffed. I check out dooce when I can which always leads me to other sites like Pioneer Woman. It's endless. I am envious of their traffic but I am not even sure I could warrant that much attention. Do I really have anything to say that is of interest, are they really saying anything that is that interesting or are we all doing it just to be in the soup, to be involved and occasionally have our little voices heard.

Maybe I am blogging in the wrong arena. No offense to my mama bloggers but maybe I should be more of a blogger activist. My world view is a bit grim but perhaps I could make a difference in this fucked up world through blogging. For example, if dooce gets 400 comments per day blogging about pretty inane stuff, imagine what would happen if all those millions of bloggers and blog followers stopped you know paying their taxes for example until the the war in Iraq ended. I realize that kind of talk is subversive but what if we thought about using the medium to better effect. Of course I have never even searched for these other blog opportunities, why? Because of course I am too busy working and yes raising my kid, and generally dealing with the mundane details of my life.

I'm really itchy right now. I will be 45 this year ( how the fuck did that happen) and I have been doing my work for over 20 years, I have a great life AND I want something more. But what? The restaurant is just a bizarre diversion. (I ran some numbers last night, what I am thinking?) Maybe activism is the answer. I just know that surfing around looking at pretty blogs and feeling envious of their ads and traffic is a bit infantile when there is so much to be fixed in our beautiful world.

This week I listened to the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Pope Benedict XVI, and none of them once mentioned, their hair, their fat asses or their cute pets. These guys are functioning on a different plain and I want to get there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Best Cat Ever

This is the cat we found last fall during one of our little forced marches to the stop sign and back. He came out of the blackberries and into Mark's arms. We took him home and discovered that Mark had in fact been nuzzling with not only the new cute foundling but also about 300 bouncing fleas. I have never seen a cat with so many on him. We washed him twice, took him to the vet, gave him a name then changed it. He was instantly cuddly and very accepting of his new home. At first he did not display much intelligence and we worried for his safety, but over time he has proven himself to posses all the best of feline characteristics. He likes to sleep on the bed all cozy but not all the time, he does not meow, he refuses to use the cat box now that he understands he can do his business outdoors, he chases the dog, he chases anything that moves. Best of all, he sleeps for hours like this in my office which makes me extremely happy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Eddy's World

If Eddy lived in a care facility there would be no napping outdoors in the country while lawnmowers whirred nearby and little girls ran screaming through sprinklers.


End of an Era

For the past 6 years I have had a young family living on my property in a converted school bus. They moved here when their first child was 2 months old. I was recently divorced and living alone on my place and I wanted to share what I had in exchange for minimal rent and light caretaking. The years passed easily and in great harmony. We all got down to the business of living, I met Mark and got remarried, they had a second child, conceived (I believe) and born (I know) on the bus.

We enjoyed each others energy and managed to maintain a nice level of privacy within the communal arrangement. And now as easily as the relationship developed over the years the end came naturally and mutually.

As the bus chugged up the driveway and past my studio I felt a great wave of emotion, sadness for them leaving and excitement in thinking about how all our lives will change. I opened my home to them at a time when my whole notion of home and family was in question. They came in and made it their home and I was able to do the same.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Who knew

a chicken would eat a soaking wet, dead mole? I didn't until today when I saw one of my hens jogging away from me with one in her beak. It solves the problem of who will pick up all the dead mice, moles, and voles the cat has left scattered between my house and office. I was envisioning myself using the BBQ tongs to pick them up and hurl them into the bush. Thanks Red Hen, you are a big help around Rancho Relaxo.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Not Exactly Working but feeling Inspired

What a weekend. Saturday was the first day of the farmers market and it went quite well. Sold some stuff and also connected with loads of cheerful market types who all seemed thrilled to be there. And the best part, it didn't rain, not one drop. Maybe there is a god after all.

Just toodling around the web today, getting an Etsy page set up for the heck of it. My own online store is getting built and should be up and running soon. Will be excellent to have that new sales venue.

One of my favorite market vendors Libby from Moth and Squirrel was the reason I got over to Etsy and I also found this amazing link to Whip

Here's to all the creative people out there making things not only because they want to but because they have to. With every piece our souls are free-er.

Sunday I worked hard all day at Marks dining room table, never went outdoors once. Luckily for Mark I did find time to shower.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

What is a Chapbook?

Chapbook is a generic term to cover a particular genre of pocket-sized booklet, popular from the sixteenth through to the later part of the nineteenth century. No exact definition can be applied. Chapbook can mean anything that would have formed part of the stock of chapmen, a variety of pedlar. The word chapman probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for barter, buy and sell.

The term chapbook was formalised by bibliophiles of the nineteenth century, as a variety of ephemera (disposable printed material.) It includes many kinds of printed material, such as pamphlets, political and religious tracts, nursery rhymes, poetry, folk tales, children's literature and almanacs. Where there were illustrations, they would be popular prints.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blue Boots

These are my blue boots. I got them for my birthday last year from my dad, who is now 81 amazing years of age. I think buying a person a pair of shoes would be a daunting task. I would never take it on but my dad is an adventurer. Add to the difficulty of this task the fact that I have unbelievably huge feet. I am not talking twelves here, I wear a whopping 14, a shoe size that is unavailable to most women, unless you want to look like a transvestite. I actively try to avoid looking like a transvestite.

So dad decides he wants to get me these boots. He doesn't know my shoe size (how could he, I keep it a secret mostly). We were recently in New York City and I had purchased another pair of fabulous leather boots which were being altered to accommodate my sturdy calves right down the street from his house. He had been involved in getting said pair of boots from my house to the shoe mender. His plan was hatched, he went into David's, asked to see the boots belonging to his daughter, and traced by hand on paper the outline of the boot.

I can never adequately express the depth of my feelings when I opened my gift to see these fabulous boots and then feel that cringe of "oh shit these will never fit, how could he", I put them on and lo and behold the bastards fit. Needless to say I have been having a great time wearing them and I have my most excellent dad who seems to know me extremely well to thank. Thanks Dad.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Local Cafe

I just had an excellent affirming conversation with my dear sage friend KL. We were talking about food and the dilemma one faces when she chooses to eat. And we love to eat, and to eat well. I don't want to eat strawberries, albeit organic strawberries, trucked up from California. I want to dream about strawberries that were grown 5 miles from my house all winter long and through the spring until June when they first appear and then I want to eat nothing but strawberries until they are all gone and the process of desiring starts all over again. Our conversation further solidified the theme of the restaurant. Local. Local availability of ingredients will dictate the menu.

Food aside, I want it to have a nice big neon sign. In fact I may even forgo interior furnishings in favor of an epic sign. Now I hope no one will steal my idea if I write about it here. But I guess if someone did steal, it would just confirm that it was a good enough idea to be stolen. Now this also assumes that a person with the intention of opening a restaurant is going to read my blog. You never know though, I have had quite a bit of traffic to the old web log of late.

Mark said a funny thing to me the other day in reference to my restaurant idea. He said he was only 90% against it. I perked up at this, he was saying he was 10% for it. I smelled encouragement!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Perfect Day

Wowee, such a busy weekend. As an antidote we took the opportunity to go skiing, the planets were aligned, the weather was just right so off we went, Eddy in tow. We discovered earlier this winter that we can take Eddy with us up to Mt Baker and while we get a few runs in he enjoys the view from the lodge. His dementia helps him to overlook the fact that he doesn't actually strap on the skis.

The beautiful thing about skiing, besides the obvious scenery which is amazing and wild, is that you really can't think about much else while you are doing it. I also noticed that fear has no place in skiing. I just kept pointing my body straight down the hill and focused on the fundamentals of weight shifting and letting gravity do most of the work. I had one impressive wipeout late in the day. I caught an edge and flipped upside down, the sensation of the soft snow and sliding downhill head first had me in near hysterics. Once I accepted I was falling I just went for it. Mark could hear me laughing as I tumbled. It was excellent and thanks to my burly ski clothes no snow touched my skin.

So it's Tuesday and I have a new attitude with which to meet my week. Recreation is the best medicine for what ails me.
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