Saturday, January 31, 2009

Safe Passage 06

It's time for more of this, I have to finish this piece. In March it will be 12 yrs since my mom died, so that is really enough time to put together a story and create a small book which is my goal for this project.

The Saturday before... we take the ferry from Tsawassen to Victoria. The plan is, we will stay overnight with a friend of yours and the following day her boyfriend will drive us up Vancouver Island to your place on Quadra Island. He will stay to perform some minor repairs so it can be listed for sale. You and I plan to drive back to my house in a few days in your 1983 Jetta. (it was such a beater, I can't believe you never bought a newer car). In the ferry terminal you sit in a borrowed wheelchair and inform me that you are not going to watch Seinfeld any longer. You proclaim the characters losers. I will laugh about this for years to come.

In Victoria your friend talks to me about hospice care. I don't really know what it involves but promise to look into it when I get back home. You are in a lot of pain and lay on the floor to relieve the pressure on your lungs and abdomen. Your friends boyfriend drives us up island only he drives like he is trying to win a rally race and we have to stop twice so you can vomit. I feel helpless to make you comfortable.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy Place

I know it's a commercial but it pleases me and sums up how I feel.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It's almost the end of the month, state taxes are due. The mortgage is due and the health insurance and credit card. I am waiting for a check to arrive. I am out of vitamin d and my foot still hurts from some crazy mystery injury. There is wet snow in my yard and I have yet to hurl the eviscerated hen into the woods. I feel like going back to bed and I just might. Sometimes it's better not to fight it.

ps there is no picture to accompany this post, think of a big black hole.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Flock Lessens

I have a lot to do in a day and sometimes I don't get to everything. Take Sunday for example. We had a lovely day of skiing and arrived home just before dark. We unloaded everyone and everything from the car and I went out to collect the dog from the nearby kennel where she spends ski days. When I got home it was dark and all I wanted to do was to get into the house and take a bath to soothe my aching body. I neglected going down and closing the hens into the coop and this is what I found when I went down yesterday to feed them. In case it's hard to make out, this is how a chicken looks with its breast and head eaten off it. Yes it's disturbing. I have 9 birds left at the moment, so instead of doing graphic design today I will be mending fences and fortifying the coop against intruders. The trouble comes when I am not here for days and there is no one to open and close the coop. I really need a renter but that is another topic for another day. To sweeten deal for today it's snowing out and yes I am whining.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monopoly with Minors

Pearl often reported playing board and card games over at her dad's place and I got to feeling that I wanted a bit of that action. She loves playing a game and I figured it's a small thing for me to calm myself down, put aside what I am working on and play a round of Candyland now and then. I have played my share of games but I generally avoid them. Playing games you have not played before means reading and understanding directions, this means slowing down long enough to absorb and process new information, an activity I generally try to get paid for. Some games are easy to master and can be fun. I was okay at Trivial Pursuit, I hated Pictionairy, it was too much like charades which felt like drama and I am not interested in performing anymore than I have to to get through the day. Scrabble is of course the king of games and I will gladly drop everything to spend 3 hours playing. Pearl has become really good at it too so I am happy to play that with her but it's not a naturally attractive game for kids. How many of you played the game of Life endlessly because of that clicking spinner, I can still hear it. I dont consider Operation or Moustrap actual games, they are primarily physical amusements.

As Pearl gets older I am recognizing the importance of having activities we can do together beyond watching endless TV. She is in that in-between stage wanting more independence but still needing so much comfort and reassurance. To this end I got us a brand spanking new Monopoly game. Pearl was delighted and we spent the last two evenings playing until she bankrupted me with a hotel on St Charles Place. I was concerned that some of her knowledge of the rules might be a bit sketchy. I had never read the directions for Monopoly, learning to play as a kid from my older siblings and friends, I assumed I knew how to play. I read them tonight and realized there was a whole level of play I had never experienced. I was just all about rolling the dice and staying out of jail. Armed with this new info, my trusty banker at my side I think we can play some epic games.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunny Sunday

Mark and his mom, Barbara Calvert Seifred

So I imagined I would have tons of great sunny pictures from our trip into Vancouver. The sun was replaced by fog the closer we got to the Fraser. In fact, on the approach to the Port Mann Bridge we could not even see the behemoth orange bridge. The fog was thick and silky gray. We went to my dads for a bit and eventually went out to lunch but their collective mood was not great. He had an infected tooth and she was concerned about the dog (8 month old Cocker) needing longer walks and wondering how to go about that. My dad just turned 83, I brought him a bottle of organic wine and Leonard Cohen CD and suggested he drink all the wine and then put on the CD. I think I need to get together on my own with him and really have a serious chat.

We had a nice dinner with Mark's mom in her cozy pad. It's the first time we have had a meal there since she moved in. I felt relaxed and happy to be in her space.

Now it is time to switch gears altogether, pack up my shit and head back to my parallel life. All in all a very nice weekend.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Saturday

We are off to Vancouver today to deliver the christmas presents that never got to my family due to the weather. The sun is shining and I couldn't be happier. More later...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Opening Day

Gloria the transgendered Brahma Rooster and a Wyandotte Hen

Banner day today. I cleaned the henhouse (got 3 eggs) and moved 3 loads of straw and waste into the garden where my blueberries are. Everything in the garden looks like it is about to decompose except for the Helleborus, they are putting up juicy buds, egged on by the cold. I clipped a bunch of the blackberry vines inside the chicken pen. I am not sure how the hens felt about the vines but they were seriously encroaching in a few areas making the paths impassable. While I was doing all of this, I let the hens and Gloria out. They were all terribly cheerful, breaking into small groups combing the yard for whatever hens comb the yard for. Some of them rushed after me everytime I went near the henhouse. They are funny to be around, you have to move in a particular way so as not to startle them. All in all I ended up spending about an hour outside which I think I will declare as my first official day of working in the garden.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 So far

So it's a new year and I am putting it out there re the projects I hope to complete this year. This is some nice pink wool I picked up at NW Handspun Yarns in Bellingham. I plan to make a hooded jacket for Pearl's newest cousin in her birthfamily. I had never knit anything for a small person and I am looking forward to it going quickly. I am doubling the wool up to make it extra thick. It seems like I rarely knit anything with the wool that was intended for the pattern. I also want to knit a blanket for Pearl's new sister who will arrive in May via her birthmom. I'd also like to make a few more of the little hats I am currently wearing (I know you can't see but trust me, it's orange and the wool came from SpinCycle).

Next on the list are a series of small quilts. I make no promises about this one as it is a true journey of exploration. I plan to create a small piece (8-12" sq) every two weeks containing the capital letter R (Clarendon to start with but that could change and there may be words worked in, we'll just see what strikes me). I came across this book, The Uncommon Quilter and it just thrilled me. So off I go on that tangent.

I have decided to stop vending at the market in Bellingham which I am hoping will give me some more free time to write. I have my moms story I need to finish as well as a few others.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Pearl swims at Alouette Lake, Summer 2008

The best Christmas gift I got this year was wholly unexpected. I received as I often have, a card from one of my mothers friends or relatives from the UK. Brown envelopes with handwritten addresses, modern die-cut cards with minimal snowflake designs. This year one such envelope appeared from my mothers college roommate Eiona Connacher. She enclosed with her cheerful note two letters she had recieved from my mother many years earlier. One was from 1966 and one from 1975. Eiona, a retired doctor, noted that she had come across the letters on her desk which begs the question "How often does one clear off ones desk?".

I am offering here, a passage from the letter dated May of 1975, the year my parents separated. We had taken a trip to the UK a few years earlier and my mother describes part of our experience;

" We put up our three little red nylon tents by the river at Coupal Bridge in Glencoe {Scotland} one fine evening in June and then bathed in the river which was warm as milk after running over the sunwarmed rocks. The kids all suddenly decided to get rid of their bathing suits and swam naked in that wonderful dark amber water. Do you remember doing the same once? I sat and watched their pink and white bodies as they splashed and dived, and it came to me that the cycle was complete here in Glencoe. Later I tried to make a poem about it, but I've never got it to my complete satisfaction."

Of course the letters are deeply moving and I am so pleased to have them in my possession, to get a glimpse into her inner world and to see how similar it is to my own.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And then it was over.

Today marks 3 weeks since our first heavy snowfall. My thoughts were consumed by snow. I loved it then I hated it. Yesterday I was planning to blog 6 things the snow afforded me because even I was tiring of my own whining. I only came up with 4 and the need to blog passed.

And then it was over.

I awoke this morning to 50° and green lawn where before there had been a field of white cotton with paths dug like veins around the property. The unrelenting rain had washed it all away and we are suddenly back to normal. No over bundling, no worries of sliding off the road.

It is however, extremely wet. The ground is spongy and soft. The road is under water in several places between me and my regular destinations. The Nooksack is thick-wide-fast. I wondered about the strength of the bridge as I sped over and noticed all the dead trees floating down in bunches. Despite these things the change to rain feels good. I will take a much needed walk this afternoon with my neighbor and the dogs. I can't remember the last serious walk I took. Brutal. You can well imagine what my mental state has been. Picture thread.

There is one thing I will miss about the snow and that is how changed the quality of light is from our normal all green world.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Day 5

It snowed again last night. I am so sick of the snow. In theory it's great but it seriously affects me in two basic ways. I can't go for my daily walks which makes me crazy—seriously—and it makes going anywhere in the car difficult to say the least. My yard still has at least 8 inches of snow in it and while the main road is clear mostly my driveway is a slippery slush fest and it's really pissing me off.

I'm whining, don't try to stop me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Day 4

Day 4 and it's bittersweet. After almost 2 weeks spent together I am leaving the comfort of Mark's company. Heading south to the Ham to collect my Pearl, I miss her something fierce after 8 days away. Looking forward to getting back to my non-holiday schedule of rigorous work and earned naps. I am also looking forward to eating some non-holiday type food, man am I getting old.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Day 3

Don't worry I can't keep this up for long.

Day 3 and cabin fever is a reality. I wanted to go into Vancouver today to deliver gifts but alas my desires have once again been thwarted by this quaint snowy weather which has really lost most of it's appeal. Instead I will walk up to the Staples and get a new 2009 planner and maybe some large pastry I can drown my frustration in.

Suffice to say I am good at being lazy to a point. I am better off if I have a mission.

Friday, January 2, 2009

It was the Shoes

Well Happy New Year to all. Day 1 of 2009 was a bit of a washout but Day 2 is at least 50% better.

I am happy to report I am emerging from my cold/flu thing. I realized this morning that for the past couple of weeks I have been either scuffling around in slippers or snow boots with little foot padding and no arch support. It all has me feeling a bit schlumpy. From spending the last week on the couch and in bed, my body feels weak and stiff. Fortunately today I was able to identify this problem and I also had the presence of mind to do something about it.

In mid December I bought myself some new running shoes (thanks dad!). Because the weather has been so incompatible with my normal fair-weather walks I had not removed them from their box. It's the shoes I thought. I was planning on kicking off the year with a little letterpress printing to celebrate the realization that I was going to live through my head cold. I have the shoes on and I am trying to stand taller and work out some of the kinks, stretching my arms and legs as I pull prints off the press.

Even though it snowed again today and I am feeling really sick of the white stuff, it was also sunny for a few minutes. The sun streaming in my office windows combined with these neon runners leaves me feeling pretty peppy and okay with the world.
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