Monday, August 27, 2012

Missed connections.

The annual back to school BBQ and re-orientation event happened today at the high school. We're new there, new to High School. I barely know my way around the building. I am not in the minority of parents who actually attended this high school ahead of their kids. The place is new but the faces are all the same, the moms mostly, some dads come to the event that is sort of informal and awkward. The students are instructed to sit up front in the auditorium while the adults are scattered everywhere in little clumps mostly close to the edges of the rows for quick exiting. We arrive late and sit smack in the middle of a row. The lights are bright and it feels like we have wandered into a grocery store at midnight after being out in a bar. I feel out of place as usual but try to listen to what the tan man who must be the principal is saying. He's funny and direct with the kids and that feels good and my discomfort momentarily subsides. Then, it's over and it is time to go outside to have a free hamburger on a white bun that I know I will regret eating later. I lose Mark immediately upon getting up to leave and I try to make eye contact with a few of the other moms. We don't have much to say to each other, at least I feel at a loss to say much beyond spewing something about how strange it all is but I stop myself, those are not the lines for this particular skit and we're all having slightly different experiences. I smile to the left I smile to the right and slowly move toward the smoke of the BBQ that is now filling the entry hall.

Outside, I decide to sit down and let the hamburger line die down while another mom moves past me. She looked a little lost so I said "Hi" and she came over. I think she would have sat there and said absolutely nothing if I had not asked a few questions and even then she did not inquire about my summer, my plans for fall, my garden. At these times I feel like I am in a haze, the twighlight zone where everything is stretchy and perspectives are angled. I move away and get in the food line near my kid who wants to act like I am not there but I give her the "don't even begin to give me any of that; I can act completely different at school bullshit" look and then I begin chatting with another mom who attended the high school and is having the strange experience of being there as an adult. She's maybe 31. I take it she wasn't the best student back then. Oh well I think, I got the hell out of my own little town and have missed out on that fate. We have a positive but brief exchange about time and remembering to breathe and I feel like that might have been the most real exchange I have had the entire time I have interacted with all these mom types. I get my burger, Mark has a second and we eat and leave.

I come away feeling conflicted. I don't really want anything from them, not friendship, I don't need to be invited to their homes, I am happy to be invisible but something tells me I am not entirely. I am helpful when I can be, I engage when I must, I am aware of what is happening within the little community but it's my choice to stay outside the circle of familiarity so maybe I should just be grateful to them for respecting my privacy. Although, I do know I am a good listener and a pretty good friend and so it's sad that none of them ever tried to buddy up with me, but then again I probably haven't been putting out the right signals and my dance-card is pretty full. Next.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I love Kimchee, you can too.

This is the project of a very talented friend of mine. I encourage you to give a little to the project. Who doesn't want to know more about Kimchee and this guy is a no holds barred brave like a super hero when it comes to mixing it up with Kimchee. Raised in Guam, schooled in Los Angeles, lives in Brooklyn. He is the culinary multi-cultural fusion king. Help him realize his dream of putting a Korean pickle on every American table. 5 days to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Natural World

Golden Ears Park, B.C.

I casually titled this photo "What Emily Carr Saw". Of course the woods she encountered were wholly different from these. The trees she saw were giants, as big around as 10 men standing with arms outstretched, some of them were close to a thousand years old.  I can't say what she saw there but the resulting paintings are mysterious, sometimes dark, gnarled and smoothed, deep and cavernous forest-scapes. I read recently she was never accepted by the darling, Canadian, Group of Seven. They were easterners, she was out west. They were in different worlds geographically, she was a woman.

Interestingly or strangely I have little interest in painting the natural world. I prefer to walk in it, listen to it, absorb it and carry it away with me, let it nourish me. Today a friend and I walked up near the site of the 2010 winter Olympics at Cypress Bowl above Vancouver. My friend is a Parks Volunteer and I went along with her to help observe a particular trail. She took notes and photographed trouble spots, we noted birds and flora and fauna and I felt profoundly content. It felt useful to make honest observations and to clear a few branches away from the path and to consider how we could, in simple ways make the destination of the trail a better experience for those who trek up there. I forgot my camera and was a bit worried about my feet as I had neglected to bring socks (stupido!). The hike was fantastic and I decided, as it combined my two greatest interests; walking and pruning things, that I want this as my new job.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What I'm reading

In keeping with my goal of reading a few books by one author to get a handle on what they are up to I am reading this collection of short pieces from my new hero Haruki Murakami. The stories are varied but all have that blurry edge of magical realism, which I relish. Some of them go nowhere which is interesting as I try to write things and have no idea how to end a story. What is a logical conclusion to something you have wholly made up, the possibilities are endless. I suppose the stories end like thoughts do, they simply cease and you might look back in the future and wonder where did those thoughts go, those thoughts I was so passionate about. Interesting. Summer is a good time for short pieces to be read in bed and on the ferry, in border line-ups and in empty living rooms in relatives houses and at beaches, if you do that sort of thing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Show and Tell

Words seem to elude me, thoughts are slimy things and easy to lose grip of. The bees are humming everywhere and I am sleeping later, starting my day more slowly. When I feel the chaos of my mind begin to grow it is good to do simple things like strip the couch of its cushion covers and wash and hang them on the line. This is one of the pleasures of summer.

So is pruning the Rhododendron. Cutting the long scraggly branches that have grown up over 18 years and nipping off the spent flowers and finding these, the buds of next years blossoms, already in full swing. This is comforting.

The house and yard are a mish mash but in summer it is all pleasant. We live outdoors mostly, at least I do. I feel better outside.

 The Hydrangea has gone rangey, gangly, spindly, woody and heavy with flowers. The orange sliding shed door makes me happy, made from two old wooden back doors.

The view over to my office, so pretty this time of year. I must burn this into my mind to recall in the depths of winter when I am trudging to and fro.

My companion, coyly sits on her bed. Waiting for me to tell her what is next.

A sign from my youth in B.C. The back door and the aloe I tried to kill with sunlight. It's better now and my interest in growing things is piqued. It always amazes me the difference a little water makes. It is so wet most of the time here that I don't feel a strong desire to water when it's warm.

I made this terrarium and made use of some stuff I had on hand. The plants I bought at Lowe's, they were almost dead but seemed to perk right up once they got a little TLC. I am in love with this tiny world I have created, I am considering moving there.

The letter B, marks the rental on my property. I am grateful for tenants that seem pleased to live here. Their rent lightens my financial load
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