Friday, February 26, 2010

A Fine Line

Something happened on Wednesday, not sure exactly what it was or if it was even one thing. In some ways it was a good day. I went and did a presentation at the College and assigned a project to a small group of web designers. I enjoyed planning it, creating the parameters and outlining them to the students. Public speaking is exciting and challenging. I don't mind doing it but it's hard for me to stay completely focused on what I am saying, thoughts ricochet wildly around in my head. I am sure I could benefit from speaking points written on index cards, color coded if possible for emphasis. Will work on that next time. By the end of the day I felt flat. Pearl had an impromptu dance practice around dinner time which was fine but I guess my day had been thrown off and I did not have time to walk and I have a lot of projects whirling around in my head. I have been needing to make a list but couldn't even do that and I guess that is what is a bit scary to me. I can see myself spiraling into this state where I can't focus on anything and it worries me. I found myself on the couch at 7:30 wishing I could just crawl into bed and start over. There is this line that exists between functioning well and not functioning at all and I can slide up to it so easily. When I woke up on Thursday I decided to make a list instead of writing my morning pages and then I made a conscious effort to follow it to the letter. When Pearl came home from school we went for a vigorous walk and then I cleaned my office before coming into the house to make dinner. The evening had a totally different feel to it than the previous night and I awoke this morning feeling rested and positive. Whatever that gravity line is that can pull me to it in the course of few hours is still there but when I can keep a healthy distance from it by staying organized and practicing self care I am better for it. It's the darkness at the edge of everything, the mud at the edge of the lake that grabs at your feet but if you're willing you can leap back and move onto more solid ground where the light is better.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Night to Remember

Outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver 2010

Being of an adventurous nature we decided to go and see the Olympic hoopla in Vancouver with our own eyes. We have been glued to the TV since the games began last week. Fortunately I only get Canadian stations at home thanks to the swanky antenna Mark brought us. Amazingly CTV has completely pre-empted their schedule in favor of wall to wall Olympic coverage. So far it's been great, even the snow situation has worked out okay. While we have not gone to the trouble and expense of seeing any of the events in person we did get to see the Russian Ice Dancers practice for free in Abbottsford. It was pretty cool and tonight we saw the competition they were training for.

On Friday night we went to Robson Square to take it all in and boy oh boy was it worth it. The excitement level in the city was off the charts. The streets were packed with revelers, some a little crazed but most just taking it all in like us. We had a nice glass of wine on the balcony of the Art Gallery overlooking Robson Street while people sailed through the sky on the zipline above us. Mark's mom, sister and brother in law joined us. There was event coverage being projected on buildings above us, there were lights flashing and circulating, lighting up the square. It was so pretty, the building facades were all lit and even though there was not a lick of snow it felt wintery and quite magical. We walked down and saw the Olympic cauldron in Coal Harbor. There was quite a crowd but everyone was well behaved, taking turns to take their place by the fence to get a look and take pictures. My sister was with us too and between the three of us we took turns holding Pearl's hand. I am a bit nervous in a crowd with her and I wanted to take pictures with my new camera so it was great to have a little help. Throngs of people don't quite describe how many people were out, it was a throng times ten.

I am impressed with the job VANOC is doing. The city looked great with tons of sculpture and all the buildings wrapped in images and ads. The scale of it was incredible. We rode the Skytrain in and out which was also a great urban experience for Pearl. She has ridden 3 subways now, New York, Montreal and now Vancouver. There was a moment in a big crowd where Pearl felt a bit scared but Mark and I played interference and all was fine. She will no doubt remember this night for a long time. She got tired and wanted to go home but I could see she was fascinated by the young people, flags draped around their shoulders dancing and singing their way down Granville Street under the neon lights. It was wild and beautiful.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Something Cute.

It's friday! You've lived through another week and you deserve a little something to make you happy. I wanted to share this book from Charles Anderson. It makes me very happy. When the heaviness of design weighs on me I pull this one down off the shelf and float away on a pink cloud of flowers. Just thought I'd share it with you because you can never have too much cute. I still have a ton to do today but I will leave you this. Happy sunny friday goodness!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tough Room

Had a slightly tough day at the office today. Of course you're thinking what is she talking about, she works alone, at home. Occasionally I do venture out to meet clients and make presentations and today was one such day. Normally I am on my own in these situations defending my process and product but lately I have been collaborating with a small team and I have to say I am enjoying it. When normally all the pressure is focused on me, for this project there are three of us and it makes a huge difference in the impact of the feedback we get. I am not even going to say it was negative feedback. I won't label it as good or bad, those are not useful labels. It was feedback and my plan is to rerun it in my head and do what I can to take it or defend our approach and remain committed to that direction (which I feel pretty certain is correct). When we get farther along I will share the project, right now though it is still an idea in it's infancy and it must be nurtured not judged. I'm tired. These meeting do take it out of me but when I wake up tomorrow and I have done my writing the ideas will flow again. It is a process, it is only a process and some people feel nervous at the uncertainty of it. I don't, I relish the excitement as you get to the brink with an idea.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Little Town

The image of the small town is ubiquitous in songs and literature, they are fodder for nostalgia of things real and imagined. Bruce Springsteen wrote about his Hometown, John Mellencamp wrote of his Small Town, of living in it and even dying in it. Even Paul Simon sang about his (my) Little Town.

I have had the good fortune of living in 2 small towns, the one I was raised in and the one I live in now. I spent 15 years in cities in between and maybe that is why I can appreciate the small town experience, because it is familiar to me and I have something else to compare it to.

My car broke down the other day in the post office parking lot in Everson, my little town. I was on my way home from a glorious walk along edge of the Nooksack with the dog and my dear friend Rio. I didn’t panic or fret even for a second. I called my mechanic, Brandon and told him what had happened and he said he’d be right over. Only five minutes passed before he arrived and we got the car started in short order. We drove back to his shop where he lent me the shop truck so I could get home and back to work. I often wave at this same truck when I pass it on the road, never sure who’s driving it as it’s sort of become the community truck.

Growing up I experienced a sort of celebrity being the youngest of four children of one of the only doctors in town and was well known and liked. People knew us, all of us and in some respects that can be a burden but in other ways it’s comforting. You never need to tell your story, everyone already knows it. We had a reputation to live up to as the offspring of a respected member of the community. It kept us on the straight and narrow to some extent, respectful of the delicate social order of small town life.

Coming to a small town as an adult is a different experience. I have had to get to know people and find the places where I fit in. For me it has happened naturally over time in light conversations that get struck up at the grocery store check out. Time passes and you realize that you suddenly know a lot about the cashiers and then you realize how you look forward to those little interactions, there is warmth to them. The same goes for the library, feed store, dentist office. I was in the library recently siphoning off the high speed internet connection feeling a bit overwhelmed because I thought my state taxes were over due. I felt a tap on my shoulder and there stood my affable accountant. He asked if I was going to stop over and see him soon and I said I thought I had missed the date and spewed some expletives. He reassured me I still had time. This could only happen in a small town.

I have lived in my little town for 15 years now. It’s the most time I have lived anywhere in my life and I am feeling the results of the roots that I have put down. When I drive the roads between my house and town I relish the familiarity of the physical landscape and it’s population, we share the same experiences. They have seen Pearl grow up from a baby being pushed in her red jogger to a tween riding her bike along the road as I walk my daily circuit. The people we encounter in the grocery store, library, and at school functions are our friends and we share their sadness and joy as if it were our own because in a way they are.

I think Paul Simon was wrong when he said “nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town”. In my little town there is an abundance of life, there are the old and the young, some of us are building a strong foundation to head out into the bigger world, some of us have come home from years away to settle down and start new lives. It’s the authenticity of it that I cherish the most.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So I made that little post yesterday and mentioned my friend Binda. Today I got an email from another friend who is also a friend of Binda's and she let me know that Binda had given her two new shrubs to pass along to me, a Purple Ninebark and a white Flowering Current. Needless to say I am going to rush right over to Flying B to get them. I love my friends.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spring! Spring?

Pictured here is a fragrant Honeysuckle, a gift from my good friend Binda Colebrook. It lives along the path between my studio and the house. It's one of the first plants in the garden to bloom in the early spring and it's fragrance is out of this world. I find it hard not to stop and sniff the air as I pass by. The Hellebores are up too but somehow they are not as significant this year. Normally, in cooler winters when the weather is more extreme the Hellebores appear in spite of the snow and declare the promise of spring. This year, spring just seems to have arrived on it's own before my yearning for it even began. I ate my lunch outside in the full sun today soaking up the natural vitamin D. The morning was cooler and we had a good frost in the night but it wasn't enough to arrest the force of spring now that it has a foothold. I imagine the rain will come again, it usually does but until then I will enjoy this sun and all the life that is bursting forth around me. How lucky we are to be alive and experience spring once again and the renewal it brings with it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lo and behold


After a little scrubbing with steel wool and simple green I was able to find the name of the person who inspected the press. Have sent off said information and will now wait, hands folded neatly in my lap. Well maybe I will engage in a little graphic design in the meantime.
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