Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Song

Thursday already. I had a vague notion I might blog everyday this week, oh well, best laid plans and all that. I also thought I wouldn't drink any wine, you know as an experiment and I was successful on Monday so I celebrated on Tuesday. Things have been sort of wild around here so best not to make any sudden lifestyle changes, we need predictability in these unpredictable times. Pearl described this to me the other day in regard to her father who seems to have decided to return to the area, once again readjusting our little apple cart. In addition to that some animal was eating all our chickens. There are two things you should never try with me, one is upsetting my revenue stream, the other is upsetting my home food production. I like eggs and my flock has been reduced in one week from 9 hens to 3. Without going into the gory details I treed a raccoon on Tuesday and had him disposed of in short order along with the leftover debris of 9 cedar trees sent to the mill in the winter. If only I could clear up all my problems this way. The sun is shining but it is still uncomfortably cool for the date on the calendar and earlier this week when the whole sky was gray and low I couldn't help but think about Cormac McCarthy's The Road as I walked my own road imagining the nuclear winter and thinking grim thoughts about the future of the world. But today, the sun is shining and there are strawberries to pick and freeze to make smoothies in the winter for my precious child who is so articulate about everything. The slash fire is finished burning now and the yard looks better, the hens are safe, things are moving along as they tend to no matter what. My work docket is full and varied and I am humbled and grateful. I have eggs in the fridge.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Duality

There is a certain newness and potential of a Monday morning, that when I don't feel too wretched, is really rather exhilarating. Spending time with my dad often means having deep conversations about the heaviness of things. This is where I got my "this half empty glass is still quite full" attitude. During solemn childhood walks his pathos was transferred to me, not through his hands as he always walked ahead of us just a little. He needed that distance to sort himself out I suppose, but the grayness did waft backwards off him onto me. His is a world of duality and he told me a few days ago to not worry about the why and instead to just carry on in the right direction. We discuss politics, mostly American politics and we feel depressed and then we touch on all the great things Americans have done and we feel hopeful once again. And this is how the conversations ebb and flow, we discuss luck and perseverance, and the importance of learning throughout your lifetime and the joy of reading and listening to opera. I swear a lot and then feel bad later that he thinks I am coarse. I listen to him and realize he is more conservative than I thought he was based on our rather relaxed upbringing. He is slumped over more now and he walks slowly, a museum crawl and I find it makes me tired and I want to surge ahead but I don't, I stay in the space with him and take in what he has to offer me because I know the supply is limited. With all this weight I still feel okay despite my anxiety tugging at my stomach and today is Monday and I am starting again and I can hear my dad encouraging me to soldier on and I might just say the same thing back to him.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Going Away

My dad and stepmother at the Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary, Westham Island BC

Have just spent a few days at my fathers house and not surprisingly woke up this morning with a raging headache, nausea and fear and anxiety rising like a raging river. It's been a few hours and I feel more normal but also tender. I had wanted to go and spend some time with the old folks to see how they're doing and now I know. I would say they are ready for some help. My dad is good for his age and my stepmother has Alzheimer's which we have known about for some time. She's mostly okay, generally cognizant but justifiably pissed off and prone to fussing. She was always this way but it's heightened now. We had some good chats over multiple glasses of wine and she seemed herself but there were moments when she would lash out and that was a bit hard to witness. My dad is not a touchy-feelie overly nurturing guy so it's hard for him to deal with her in this new and devolving state. He's used to her being capable and in charge and she is so much less that way now. I feel pretty drained after only 4 days, I can only imagine how they feel. I need to get in touch with all my siblings and report my findings, there are 8 of us between them. I am not looking forward to this but I feel like the time is right and there have not been any big crisis yet but there is certainly potential.

The good news I suppose is that when we arrived on Tuesday they were both tense and when we left they were cheerful which proves to me that they need more contact with all of us. It seems a simple solution considering the severity of what's happening.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Holy cow. I have to make this snappy. Had so many plans to make some drawings and paintings, in particular a painting of Eddy. He is not well, he is not himself or he is a new version of himself, we're not sure. Mark has been caring for him now for close to 8yrs and we think he had a stroke some weeks ago, but he seemed to rally and we thought it was a cold and he got better in a few days but now he is slow again and he just seems glum which makes us glum too. He's near the end of the line and I think he knows enough to know that he's really confused and weak and not a player any longer, not even close. It's distressing to all of us. Because he is weak his bathing schedule has been disrupted which in purely mechanical terms is tricky. Mark had to give him a sponge bath at the kitchen counter because he would not wake up long enough to get into the shower. It's tough on everyone but toughest on Eddy. We don't take him to the doctor for these things, our approach is practical, sympathetic but also realistic. What if he had cancer? We'd probably let it go. I suppose it's palliative care that we are providing. Mark is softening with him and we talk about just meeting him where he is, going easy on our expectations of his abilities and awareness. He was better yesterday and we were able to get him through the shower. And so it goes one day at a time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sleep Credits

Perpetual Birthday Calendars printed by Moi, available on Etsy

There is nothing better than waking up to a notification that someone you don't know has sent you money for something you made. Last nights sleep earned me 35 big dollars, (minus $10 for shipping), leaving me with 25 big dollars to reinvest in boxed wine, I mean letterpress supplies and shoes for baby. Who said sleep was a waste of time, certainly not me. Be the first on your block to get one, these things are going like hotcakes, sort of.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Sample of grass collected during the walk.

I hate the dogs who come barking, biting and bitching as I walk. They hurl themselves down bucolic driveways, from rest on sundecks, snarling and lunging until they hit invisible walls of electricity or lengths of rope. I am peaceful as I go along because that is my mission, the goal of the whole activity to clear the poisonous slackitude from my mind and the road complies. It stretches itself out straight and open with only one big turn which I can easily navigate with my narrow body, narrow dog on narrow leash at my side. I look up and down as I go, noticing the grasses, Buttercup, Skunk Cabbage, the beginning of Indian Paintbrush and so many more silent road residents whose names I don't know. Do they know my name as I pass by occasionally stopping to yell "back-off" at the charging retrievers? What is the point of this walk, designed to calm me if my blood pressure shoots up while my body tenses forming and expelling the words that I launch not really toward the dogs at all but at the house they have emerged from. Hoping the words will drift along with the cottonwood fluff and be heard by the woman who lives there. What I wish she could experience are the jagged spikes as my heart pounds against my chest, feel them like sharp jabs in her temples. As I wait for the car—that I know is approaching—holding my breath as it rushes up to us and meets the dogs now in the middle of the road. Will today be the day they get hit? I am always surprised by how loud I can yell in these situations. It stops the dogs, perhaps saves their lives and I move on following the freshly mowed edge of the road with my eyes but still conscious of my disturbed heart.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Enjoy this.

I'm busy right now with work and thinking about my story. I have been writing but I have also been walking a lot and just thinking and things are beginning to fall into place. I have also been doing some drawing but because I have so much work at the moment and quite a few bills to pay the work is taking the front seat while the rest is just chilling in the way back. So in the meantime, listen to this. It's from Radiolab a great show that I love, lots of talk about thought and experience, it makes me weak in the knees sometimes.

Me, Myself, and Muse - Radiolab

Friday, June 3, 2011


One of the details from my daily walk.

Life inside my head can be exhausting. The constant vigilance, taking note of my mental state all the time, it's like adjusting and readjusting wool underwear, it just never feels right. So naturally I am pleased when I have the opportunity to just act, to think quickly and then burst into action.

It happened this week during my daily walk. I came across one of the neighbors horses, loose in his yard. The owner was at work and must have put the horse in his orchard for grazing and the horse got out and was lurching around the yard, testing the sensation of gravel under his hooves by the fire pit, tasting the BBQ and generally looking a bit freaked out by this sudden freedom. Without too much labored thought I attached my nervous dog to a fence post and intercepted the horse as he trotted toward the road, I raised my arms in the air to make myself appear authoritative, I grabbed him by the mane with my right hand and then held his nose in my left and sort of steered him toward the gate of the paddock. I spied some nasty bailing twine which I grabbed from the bucket of water (and horse shit) it was floating in and threw it around his neck and nose, making a quick halter so I could hold him and get the paddock fence open, splattering mud on my face in the process. I made the good-horse-go-forward clicking sounds and in he went, I closed up the gate being careful not to get shocked and went and rescued the dog who was really nervous because the horse was now very close to her, albeit on the other side of the fence. Then we carried on and I felt terribly brave and capable. It's been years since I've had much to do with a horse but it all comes back.

Farther down the road near the creek I stood for awhile looking skyward and watched a young eagle swoop and soar and then settle in the trees. Some smaller birds were heckling him, foolish and brave I thought and for a moment I imagined how exciting it would be to see the eagle swoop down and pick up the spaniel who had come out to follow us. I made it to Friday and they were playing some Bob Marley on the radio and it made me think of my youth and my husband and the weekend and I felt like I had hit on the just the right adjustment.
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