Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Press proofs

Saw the first proofs of the 100 Years book yesterday and they looked great. Only made a few little adjustments here and there which is to be expected. I am incredibly grateful to our rep Tegan Cutler. She is so thorough and extremely conscientious about every aspect of the project. We met for about two hours and on my way out I ran into my good friend Katrina and her boys. I have not seen her enough lately. I got home around 5:30 and was happy to get a phone call from Pearl and one from Mark before settling in for a nice evening of wine and cheese with my friend Kate. The weather was perfect finally and we sat outside until almost 9 getting up a few times to corral chickens, we are after all just a couple of farm girls from Everson. All things considered it was a pretty nice day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Biting down

My tongue hurts from running it along the sharp edge of a broken molar, I can't help it. I am hoping to smooth it out to avoid the costly and painful trip to the dentist where they will grind off the tooth and replace it with a new metal base and perfect porcelain top. I woke today with a The The song in my head, "This is the Day" and it made me wonder, is this the day when things fall into place. Years ago when Pearl was little she said to Mark "you can change your mind"—"you can change your life" and he did, he fell in love with us. Pearl is an amazing child and parenting her is one of my greatest achievements, not that I am close to being finished with the task, one never is. Even my mother who is long dead informs the choices I make daily. In recent months I have put my foot down to protect Pearl and I will likely do it again. It is unpopular and I will be accused of myriad transgressions against the father but the thing is, you can change. We are here in this raft floating along and we can either fight amongst ourselves or we can focus on the beautiful foliage and wildlife that exists on the banks of this waterway that is our lives. This has nothing to do with teeth and I know that I can't possibly fix what is broken in my mouth with my soft fleshy tongue but I can entertain all the possibilities and weigh them equally and then proceed, and I can stop my tongue from seeking that rough edge. This IS the day, and this day is everyday and you can take a step forward and you can feel good, it's your choice to face up or face off, to drop in or to drop out. Open your mouth and smile and lift your paddle high don't just aimlessly drift unless drifting is what you desire.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Making Friends

In my perpetual quest for a satisfying life this question has been plaguing me lately. How do you make friends in a new town? As kids, if you move to a new place you have the arena of school in which to sample the various flavors of friends. As an adult if you move with your job, the workplace offers an instant supply of personalities to connect with. Time and routine also create friendships. I have lived in Whatcom County for 16 years and have made friends in a handful of places, the library, the grocery, post-office, the farmers market, work interactions.

Mark bought his place in Abbottsford with one singular reason in mind, to be closer to me. He works at home by himself as I do. 6 years have passed and I look around this town and think how the hell do we meet people here? Don't get me wrong, I have many friends. I am not forlorn and friendless unable to connect with other humans I just want some friends here in Abbottsford, someone to play cards with on Saturday night over drinks. It presents an interesting sociological problem. How do a couple of people in their 40's make friends in a town where they don't got to church or school, or even work, not to mention that we spend a lot of time away.

I am solution oriented personality so I think what can I do. What if I put a little flyer up around the hood that read, Professional married couple seeks similar for light social activity, cards, tennis, rides in a big red car, BBQ-ing. And our phone number. Seriously what would happen? Swingers is what comes to mind for me, freaks, and other lonely misfits. So sad, I need a friend, will you be my friend? It's more complicated than all that of course, developing friends.

I walk the dog in a park near us and occasionally I see someone who looks nice and we might stop and talk about dogs. But then it's time to go and it seems so socially awkward to suddenly blurt out, I need a friend here in town. Here's my card, call me anytime. Well not anytime because I am not actually here that often but sometimes I am. I met a woman with a really fat Weimaraner and thought okay now we're getting somewhere but she lived up the coast. Thwarted I was.

Yesterday I ran into a woman who attended the same dog obedience class as we did 4 years ago when Luna was a pup. She had a little fuzzball dog called "Butters", a name some of you will recognize from the long hours you spend watching "South Park". She barely recognized me but was happy to chat once I explained who I was again. The whole time we talked I was thinking, give her your number she is funny, you could be friends. She lives in town and probably has enough friends already, that's the other thing, by this age people seem to have all the friends they can manage, why take on more?

I have 259 friends on Facebook. According to Mashable this is the optimum number any one person can hope to interact with in a meaningful way, which really means that of that 259, about 40 of them actually participate regularly in normal FB activities, posting pictures, making status updates, sharing links. I like Facebook but it is a slightly empty experience after a time and sometimes I just want to encounter a real person. But how?

At my place we have friends near and far who are happy to come over. We go to town occasionally and meet friends there for music and meals and holiday parties. When we got to Vancouver we have a mix of friends and family we routinely encounter. Occasionally some of the Vancouver people pilgrimage out to Abbottsford but it is a long drive home especially if you have been well fed and watered. Our American friends don't come to Abbottsford often, I feel it is an imposition to invite people up because of the border crossing, not everyone is comfortable with the scrutiny and frankly some people just can't cross so I don't ask.

Again, what to do? Join something? A quilting group, museum boosters, tennis or running club. It all takes time. I just want to see some nice couple who sort of resembles us in natural fibers out with a dog and at the risk of coming across as completely strange, say hey there, need a friend? Me too, here's my card.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Off to the Printer

This is the cover to the book I have just sent to the printer. I started this project about 18 months ago and the last month or so has been pretty intense. I have renewed respect for how streamlined the production process is with my corporate publishing clients. This books author, Sarah Wallace did a bang up job considering it was her first project of this magnitude. We had great photos from Seattle photographers, Meryl Schenker and Mike Urban and also historic material by Jack Carver who was a Herald photographer in the 50's and 60's. I am hoping the book will be well received by the community. I have to say I got a little buzz telling Pearl that her reward for all the long hours of me working would be getting her own copy of the book and that it would be a wonderful reminder to her of all the summers we have spent attending the fair. Not to mention how it makes real what her momma does for a living. She'll get that bit later on.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taking the call

My dad called me today. It was slightly surprising, not the call so much as the time of the call. He usually calls at the weekend or he sends me a short email. We used to write letters, long long ago. This family friend who has cancer came up and I found it difficult not to cry a little telling him that the cancer, which started in the breast was now deep in her bones, attached like invisible leeches to her pelvis. Inoperable. He was emotional too because he knows her and he knows the other side of it too. He's a doctor and he saw the women come through the hospital, the hopeless cases, and the devastation those rogue cells left in their wake. The minor children and devoted husbands. It's nasty business and I could hear in his voice the sadness of knowing this woman was too young to fall victim to this fate and yet it happens day after day.

I can't tell if he is more emotional or if there is more to be emotional about as we get older. When my mother died I stopped trying to hold back the tears when I spoke about her and now 13 yrs later they still come, there is no letting up of this deep grief and he feels it too. His parents are dead, his brother is dead, his friends are dying. And he has the immense burden of the knowledge of a doctor with 50 years of experience watching people overcome disease and watching more fade away, succumbing to the internal webwork of mutant cells that consume their once healthy bodies and minds.

We talked a bit and then I had to go. It was good he called. I have been thinking about him a lot lately knowing I have been too busy to call and feeling guilty because one day he won't be there to answer my call and we both know it. Time slips by as he said today.

Monday, June 14, 2010


A close friend of my family of origin is gravely ill. She has been battling cancer and last night I dreamt about her. She was in a lot of pain and was thrashing around. I held her in my arms and whispered into her ear, be still, be still, it's going to be okay.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No time to blog

13 consecutive days of work, and no end in sight. I am emotional and anxious with a capital A. I need an ectomy of some sort, head-ectomy, heart-ectomy. If I can just get through the next few hours I will celebrate with a few pitchers of marguerita because, as you know, alcohol helps these conditions greatly. Perhaps a few moments face down on the lawn would be helpful, will try that. BRB

Friday, June 11, 2010


I feel like I have been on a treadmill for the past few months. I am grateful for the work of course but I do get burned out. In an effort to squeeze another hour out of my day when I am at my sharpest I have been getting up to work at 5am. This means I have not been doing my usual morning writing. I don't like to complain but it is hard doing what I do at times, being creative everyday and pumping work out often leaves me feeling a little blank and heavy. Yesterday though I had a nice little reminder of something positive. After being pretty productive all day I found myself at loose ends in my office at the end of the day. I am redesigning my website and the CMS is done now, thanks to the good men at Viscocity. So I spent some time playing with the interface, I added a few images and migrated some copy and was able to think clearly about what I want to do with this new site. I realized while scanning this old bookcover from my ephemera collection that I was suddenly feeling energized. There it is, when I feel like I have nothing left to give doing a little project for myself fixes me right up. It's counter-intuitive because my reaction to exhaustion is to want to curl-up but the answer is to make something new. I had completely forgotten this.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I am calling her Betty

I love a diversion. In the middle of all the fantastic busyness in my life I was gifted a hen by a neighbor who is moving to town. On Tuesday, between designing the second pass of the Northwest Washington Fair centennial book, making an allegedly wholesome meal before attending Pearl's final band concert (another event I attended on my own—this is really the only downside of not actually living with who you are married to) I picked up the chicken. We got home from the concert around 8:15. I knew the hen would be all tucked into her coop and would be easy pickings. I rode my bike next door, burlap sack in hand. After a small amount of confusion I got the hen into the bag and rode back home. The amazing thing about chickens is they will put up a huge amount of fight, squawking and flapping until they are in a bag and then they are perfectly relaxed, like nothing stressful was happening to them. It's hard to tell if they are in a state of paralytic fear or if they have just surrendered and accepted their fate.

In the morning she seemed fairly relaxed. I opened the coop door and all the hens fell out as they normally do. I tossed them some scratch and then hung arounf to see what the new hen would do. As advertised by her previous owner, she dropped down off the roost and went straight to the nesting box where she settled in. I returned to my office and adjusted the kerning on 10 headlines when I went back to check on her and she was gone, no trace of her anywhere except for a bright white egg in amongst the usual browns. I felt bad. I took her on and now she was lost. I questioned the other hens, were you nice to her? did you include her in your daily peckings? No one said anything except for the peacock who rattled his feathers. No wonder she was gone, how scary is a peacock to the uninitiated.

Despite feeling like I had failed this small slightly rough looking hen I decided to name her Betty after Betty White as she is the only white hen in the flock. This is saying a lot, I have had 2 dozen chickens over the years and only named a few of them prior to Betty. At dusk I went down to lock in the hens and I opened the coop door just to check on everyone and there she was, roosting next to the rooster like she had been there her whole life. Smart girl, I think I am going to like this chicken.

Friday, June 4, 2010


On average I have walked down my road twice a week for the past 16 years. That's roughly 1600 trips back and forth. Part of the walk takes me past some tribal land, about 200 wooded acres. These woods create a wall to the south, blocking the light and making that stretch of my walk cooler and dim. I have sometimes ventured in to them as there is a well worn path leading south used by deer and sadly, 4-wheelers. For some reason a few residents of the road feel it is okay to ride on private lands. The woods are the home to deer, heron, eagles and beavers, there is a salmon stream that runs through them. There have been rumors of logging and development for years and I ignored all of them. Yesterday the logging rumor came true. There is little romance to this logging, there are no old growth trees there, they were probably logged in the twenties but there are mature alders which have value currently. It was sad to see the gash in the forest wall but I am also dispassionate about it. Change is inevitable in our lives, it is doubtful a Casino will suddenly appear. I worry about the creatures who call the wood home but for me it signals a new era, the landscape will be altered, it is too soon to tell how much. An 18 foot buffer has been proposed but we'll see. A perfect pristine wilderness is an illusion, the change is upon us and what can we do but adapt.
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