Saturday, November 23, 2013

Values vs Memories

I'm slipping into another place
it's serene in here, no sound, maybe birds
I have no memories, I have no goals
is it death? that is the conclusion I jump to first
I have died and death is the ultimate calm state
but I am not dead because I am drinking coffee
and my husband and daughter are down the hall
the absence of worry, concerns me
but most memories I am willing to lose
those things happened
and now they are lost
I'm startled by the odd flash
of what does drift past
Los Angeles midday
my hand raised touches his face
a social perfunctory kiss
I have always felt uncomfortable
kissing for no good reason

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I seek the space where words converge
I keep waiting, thinking it will happen
the woods will open into wide pastureland
flat and navigable, an easy space to lay it all out.
It hasn't happened yet, I am waiting.
I have not entered the woods.
I remain on the periphery. 
Walking and thinking, the road before me
a dashed line on which to build,
the blank spaces where thought drops out
a grid of ideas
built with letters giving way to words
revealing phrases, a melody even
the grid does not extend into the woods
the road is long and the same
a rhythm played each day but without words
no song, the beat of foot falls on dashed line
nothing comes of it but I go out again
hoping words will meet me, pull me in
without suffocating me on the way to the vast openness
I believe exists just beyond the safety of the road

Monday, October 28, 2013

Falling Up

So much to report. The changing leaves are sublime, we've been enjoying mysterious fog. I finally got rid of my car. It feels really good to be able to drive around again freely, at night without that fear that I am going to get pulled over for having headlights out or for polluting my town with cloud of blue smoke that had begun following me around. The Passat served me well over the past 12 years and it was beyond fixing. Finding a new vehicle was a challenge. We looked at Explorers and Suburbans, vehicles that could tow our little trailer. The Fords were cheap and plasticky, the Suburbans were smelly and I could feel myself slipping into a sadness that was alarming. I had been driving a fairly nice, higher end vehicle and I was learning the hard way that the status of said vehicle mattered to me, a lot. We were cheaping out, looking at cars that were under $2k. I got my cash together and we got onto looking at smaller Chevys, V-8s, newer models. I want something that was born in the 2000s, the Passat was a '95. I needed to get out of the nineties. We finally hit on a 2001 white Blazer, 4dr, 4WD. It suits me, it has good pick-up, the body is bigger than the Passat but not gigantic like the Suburban, it fits in the carport and handles pretty well in tight spaces. It sucks gas but nothing is perfect, I ration my driving. I drive more slowly. It's a huge relief to have this mundane task taken care of. I knew the drive to Smithers would be the last for the old Passat. I took it to the recyclers and they paid me $260 to crush it. My ownership of that car can only be described as the classic abusive relationship. The car looked good and I felt great in it, but it beat the shit out of me, time and time again. On the drive to the recyclers I kept thinking how good it felt to drive it again, how nice the leather seats felt, how well it handled, low on the road, quiet on newer tires. I put all the bad stuff out of my mind and enjoyed it one last time.

It's been two months since I forced the kid onto the X-Country team at school. The first few weeks were brutal. Teary pick-ups and dirty looks. My gut feeling that it would be good for her has payed off. She loves the team interaction, and the running practice has visible benefits. She still complains a bit about their training but this week she shaved 4 minutes off her time for the 5K and man she looked great doing it. She surprised herself I think and was pleased with how it felt to do well. She's healthier and happier and the experience of going to all these mid-week and weekend meets has been good for me too. I have reconnected with many moms I knew years ago when Pearl was small. One woman in particular, was instrumental during the time I was choosing an adoption agency to work with. She was also looking for an agency she could work with and eventually adopted just after Pearl was born. Her daughter is also running XC for a school in town. I feel a great sense of renewal reconnecting with people and also seeing my daughter blossom along with her peers and make new connections through physical activity.

And me. How am I? Well the weather has been perfect and I have been busy enjoying it. I have been helping in the garden, taking out the tomatoes and cutting down the spent raspberry canes. I am deeply grateful for everything and mindful of my self care as we slide into darkness. It rained a lot early in September and I just wasn't ready to fold up and go inside. Miraculously the rain stopped and October has been dry. We have been given a reprieve, more time given to strengthen and steady ourselves before the deep grayness of winter sets in. We have no control over how our reactions to dark will be from year to year. There are so many variable but for now I am just plain grateful for good weather that allows me to be active outdoors and to have so many good friends on whom to lean if I do start to falter. It rained in the night but the sun is back today so out we'll go and continue to beat back the wilderness.

I'm rapidly approaching my 50th birthday and while I am sure I will experience some more feelings about it, for right now I feel okay. The last few years were rough and I still have the occasional moment when things feel sketchy at best. I know it will pass and in the moment it's a good idea to get out and move around, put yourself in nature. Connect to something greater than your measly-self. Feel your body's sensations, good and bad, move around. When I start to feel that separation of what I know to be happening and that which is imagined, it is best to get up and go outdoors. I find that engaging my body in physical activity I can move through the worst of the rising confusion and despair. Set your hands to labor, knit, wash the dishes, dance, scream if you have to. It will pass. The more I am mindful of the effects of my readjusting hormones, the less scary their manifestations become. We are all unique, the point is to see what works best for you. (Sorry how this is written. I had had a discussion with a friend who had hit a few rough patches and was seeking a pharmaceutical answer. I was encouraging exercise, rest, and kindness.)

Monday again and time to get back to work. Halloween this week which I will thankfully miss. I hate dressing-up, isn't it enough that I get myself dressed and put together and presented to the world everyday? I have enough trouble with my own ego let alone an alter one. Above is a snippit of a piece I am working on, must get to the finishing. Off we go!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Food for Thought

I guess it's an absolute truth that if you want something done properly you must do it yourself.  I suppose it also rings true that we are what we eat. Criticize a persons food and you might as well criticize them directly. It is also true that not everything should be taken personally. I read that in a book called The Four Agreements. It made sense to me.

In my starring role as mother to my 15 yr old daughter, my main objective is to teach her how to eat. My mother taught me and when I no longer lived with her my stepmother picked up where she left off. They were housewives, mothers of 4 and 5 and they had both been a part of the Diet for a Small Planet movement. They had also been through a war, this effects, probably more than any thing ones relationship to food. They knew about vegetables and whole grains. They baked their own bread and cooked all of our meals. We ate seasonally, my stepmother had her own butcher who she had a really tight relationship with. She cared about the quality of what we ate. As an adult when I visited my mother she still made me all the things I loved, again, it was homemade, seasoned with love and rich in wholesome comfort. Of the 8 living children these two women raised, no one was fat and we are all good cooks.

When my daughter was learning to eat whole food as a baby I remember her hugging me at the dinner table. I would give her a little bite, she would eat it up and then she would hug me. And so, a strong bond was created around nourishment. When she has been away, I tend to want to feed her up when she gets back, to get her back on track. Food is not folly, it is healthy, whole, fresh, and satisfying, designed to build her up. I can't rely on anyone else to do this for her, it is my responsibility alone, it is not a burden, it is my job and I do it willingly with love, good humor and sometimes flair.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I told my daughter tonight that if she wanted to know what sort of mood I was in to check the state of the kitchen sink. If the sink is clean I am feeling good. If there is chaos in the sink I am not in a good place. I think it's important to give kids these clues, to help them navigate the emotional landscape of the people they live with. My mother was not an open book. There were certain things she communicated clearly but teenagers are naturally self absorbed which makes picking up subtle cues challenging, if not entirely off their radar. I don't want to burden my kid with the process I find myself in currently, this period of hormonal readjustment, this life as a creative, self employed, slightly fragile human. This drying up. It's complicated and sometimes scary.

So far, the fall has been good. My daughter has been busy which means I am busy supporting her, in her multiple activities. In many ways being in service to another human makes your own life very simple and directed. It's easy to suppress your own feelings when someone else needs your support. I wake early, make breakfast, make lunch, drive her to the bus or to school, have my day, attend school related functions revolving around sports and music, make supper, plan lunch, sleep. Strangely, I feel the opposite of put upon. I feel like we are this team. I signed up for this and she is working really hard. It's my job to help her be her best. The structure of her life dictates the structure of my life and this holds me together while the rest of me fluctuates wildly. There is no chaos when I look at her. I see the course we are on, I know what to do. I am grateful for her.

I stopped over at the urban farm today, the home of my friend who I have been helping in exchange for fruit and vegetables, since the spring. We picked tomatoes and she gave me the low-down on making sauce, which I will do tomorrow. We weeded a bit, social weeding while catching up pulling out bind weed, that stuff that just spirals around everything. She dug me up a perennial to take home. An Echinops; globe thistle, to be planted in full sun. I made a note on my phone, my memory is poor for these things, these days. The garden is moving along, into a new phase, there is still so much life there.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Way Home, Days 6 and 7

We left on Monday. I organized the trip so that we would have 3 travel free days in Smithers. Driving out of Telkwa toward Quick where my mother lived is emotional. I miss my mother in this world, more than anything. It's such a huge weight to carry, longing for the person you loved most in the world. We carry on. The sky opens up and rains on us as we pass her turn-off and we wind gently toward Hungry Hill. I stare out the window trying to remember everything as it whips past me. Our lives in the sacred Bulkley Valley. The road is my whole life stretching out ahead of me. In the video Mark refers to it as the highway that has become our home.

Scattered along the highway there are the little houses, homesteads, left by the first white settlers to the area. Hopeful. In clearings. The hay grows up around them and eventually the ground will reclaim them in much the same way it has claimed their owners. I can't imagine what it was like for the first non-native people to this region.


Simple barns and rail fences dot the landscape and are weak attempts to to tame the wild landscape. Civilization on the inside, the natural world on the outside. A line separating this, from that.

The train follows the highway we have been living on. My eldest brother has worked for the CN Railway since he was 18. I naturally admired him so it made sense to admire trains as well. We rode them east to Jasper and then west to Vancouver. We climbed the Rockies slowly and waited in sidings without complaint. We rode them west to a place call Pacific. The train took me places and felt familiar doing so. The first time I went away for Christmas after my parents split up, I rode the train home from Saskatchewan on New Year's Eve, where my dad was living. We rolled past frozen Canadian landscapes, filled with remote crossings in sleeping towns. It was 4am when we came through Telkwa as the only Hotel in that small town burned silently down as we passed, speechless, headed west to Smithers.

Vanderhoof. The center of British Columbia. Not much else going on there besides Glen's Drive-In, the local Sino-Canadian restaurant. Some smart person moved all these heritage type buildings into one highway-close-locale. We stopped and snooped but ultimately ate our lunch of sandwiches at a picnic table under a green umbrella. We did little to support the local economy beyond a few words of encouragement to the local shop owners,

The Loon. I heard them calling in the night at the lake. It's a sorrowful sound. The end of day floats over the lake at dusk, the loon calls us to bed, and the lake air flows through the cabin pulling away the fog of the past creating whole new memories, good adult memories in place of the fantasy of childhood.

Nearing Quesnel, there are so many logging trucks on the road we feel puny in size and purpose. Our mission to return to my childhood home seems superfluous in comparison to the whole lumber industry. The local towns are driven by mills. Train tracks loop into sawmill yards and back out. Trucks, massive trucks, low slung, super long, populate the highway and we are submissive, hanging back to let them proceed. Swaying trailers, threatening to crush us, their logs poised to  impale us should the load shift, the trailer tip. They are like missiles traveling the roads, let loose on gravel, proceeding to pavement, headed to the next mill-town. We hang back, we brake, we count our blessings. The harvest is enormous, an unintended consequence of the Mountain Pine Beetle plague. I am witnessing the forests with their dead trees, and it doesn't look good. The future of these forests hangs in the balance. We are inconsequential and get out of the way to let these monsters of progress and sustainability pass.

The Caribou. Rolling hills and pasture land.The omnipresent river flows south to the Fraser Canyon, the landscape gets drier the farther south we go.

Williams Lake, B.C.

South of Williams Lake headed to 100 Mile House for the night. I had wanted to make the drive in one day but ultimately it just wasn't possible or advisable. The Fraser Canyon lies at the end of the drive and as treacherous as it seems in daylight it's potentially deadly at night for a tired driver in a car with malfunctioning headlights. We stayed in the Red Coach Inn as we had as kids when we drove to Vancouver for summer vacation. It was pleasant and slightly surreal to be there with my dad and older sister as well as my own family.

Day 7. We slept poorly in the hotel despite being tired. I turned the AC off to keep it from blowing on my kid who had developed a terrible dry cough, the cause of which would not become clear for another week. It was hot and still and Mark and I were anxious about getting home, getting back to life post travel. We had a light breakfast and hit the road, the sun at our left as we drove south to the face the canyon. I'm glad I made this trip with my family. I feel a little more whole than I did when we set out. I feel a little more Canadian and a little more connected to the people and places I grew up around. I feel more deeply connected to the landscape of the province and to that road that connects me to where my cognizant life began.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Food Thing

We are what we eat. Crap in crap out. My kid has been sick this year, nothing devastating but concerning in its persistence. We sought medical attention and she ended up taking 3 rounds of antibiotics and most recently she has been fighting something that was a direct result of the cure. Don't get me wrong. I like antibiotics but not too often. I take full responsibility for my kids health and last year with her entrance to high school I eased up on my death grip of what she was eating. I let her choose what she ate at school and at home somewhat, and I began to notice that she was slowly eating more and more simple carbs in the form of noodles, bread, pasta, crackers. The final straw was a few weeks ago, I have made a stir-fry and rice and I watched as she heaped on the rice and took a few carrots from the mix and that was it. A huge light bulb went on and I suddenly realized what had probably caused all the health issues we'd had in the winter that had crept into the summer and were now present in the fall. Her immune system had become compromised due to her diet. Too much sugar in her system was creating a perfect environment for bacterial infection and then the antibiotics killed off what she had left leaving her with a condition called Thrush. This is a really boring post but I need to outline this more for myself than anything. We are what we eat. Crap in crap out. This is my mantra. Right now I am working on rebuilding my daughters bacterial system. One of the main ways of doing this is to eat loads of fresh and cooked vegetables, some fermented foods and lots of yogurt. Juice is forbidden, for now. Donuts and cakes and cookies and noodles and pasta are all off the table. Whole grains are in. Sodas are out. Herbal tea with honey is in. It's a tough road but I feel strongly that one of the values I must pass on to my kid is how to eat properly for now and for life.

Her lunch today:
Roasted Turkey Sandwich on whole grain bread
Mixed veggies: tomatoes, cuke, carrots
Nut mix: almonds, raisins, a few chocolate chips
Peanut butter cookies: made with maple syrup and almond meal
Yogurt cup
Cheese and rice crackers

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


We spent the weekend at my dad's. Summer is almost over and we have to finish up the work we started, painting some trim on his house. While he's capable of doing the work himself he is not naturally inclined in that direction. I am pretty sure my stepmother took care of all these things, doing some of the fix-it stuff herself, directing him on some jobs and hiring the rest out. She was conscious of how the house should look, he seemed oblivious but willing to do what she implored him to do. She has been away physically for over year but she stopped being able to care about these domestic details a few years before that. In some ways those last years before her stroke and fall were pleasant. She was more relaxed, less critical. Alzheimers took her need to have things just so. We were not always close. There were difficult years but I understood her and she knew it. We had a bond, ultimately she was a good mother and she and dad had a good relationship. She's everywhere in the house and I feel by helping him we are helping her too, carrying out her wishes, considering her preferences, keeping her present in a home in which she is absent. When we arrived Saturday dad was home eating his light lunch. He was wearing a huge pair of cargo pants, filthy and cinched around his waist, his now narrow hips no longer a match for a widening waist-band. I asked him if he maybe needed me to go with him to get some new pants for fall. I made a joke about back to school shopping but he's wary of me and my helpful hints about appearance and grooming practices. I have to tread lightly. I think of my stepmother and how she would have handled him and his over-sized pants. They would have simply disappeared in the laundry one day, gone to the poor, or the compost if they had no trace of wear left in them. She felt strongly that even the poor had standards. He wore shorts the next day and assured me that he has clothes to wear and we discussed wearing a greater percentage of them. This seemed to please him. Mark did some painting and I washed dishes and wiped up crumbs. I could go crazy cleaning the house but the cleaning woman had just been there so it felt pretty okay, considering. On Sunday we took a long walk punctuated with pie and coffee. We walked to Pt Grey Road and watched a race of Lasers in the bay. The single sails were so pretty moving together as a group gently changing shape as their sailors adjusted their trim and direction as they passed the race markers. It was hot and the dogs panted as we sat on a little knoll and watched the boats finish their heats and then begin again.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Up the Mountain, Day 5

 Our ski-cabin is the light spec at the middle of this photo to the left of the lift-line.

Legend has it that my dad moved us to Smithers in 1965 because of the mountains. He had other reasons but they were lost on me. We skied on Sundays, as a family. Other families went to church, we skied. We ate pancakes in the morning and then we all piled into the VW Bus and after he had yelled his head off at us to get our boots, poles, and skis together, we were off. It was exciting and terrifying. My father at the wheel, hunched over, willing the underpowered vehicle up up up, around switchbacks lined by snowbanks just waiting to suck you in. He was a mountain climber but had given it up by the time I was born. Skiing was his next passion. So we skied.

He built us a ski cabin. It was a PanAbode number and the pieces got dropped by helicopter onto the mountain like bundles of Lincoln-Logs. The area that was the mountain was on Crown land, owned ostensibly by the government and we were all squatters. People built little basic cabins to huddle in after a long day of skiing, there was no power and we melted snow for water. There was a Ski-Club cabin as well where you could eat your bag lunch. I spent a lot of time there drinking cocoa and amusing the other skiers. Our cabin materials got dropped in the wrong spot so the cabin got built closer to the main run than it should have. Our outhouse ended up in the meadow where the cabin should have been. In winter I remember the deep path dug into the snow behind the cabin to the outhouse. As a child it felt like walking a long blue white corridor to the little wood hut. Scary and magical and slightly stinky.

Crater Lake beyond the trees. The alpine flowers were sparse due to the dry summer. Elevation is about 5000ft.

The Green-T hut. This was near the site of the original rope tow. As you rode up you could see our cabin and an optical illusion was created, the cabin appeared to sit tilted back into the hill, I imagined cups and saucers sliding off the crude table inside. In years of heavy snow my eldest brother and his friends made a snow-bridge onto the roof of the cabin and skied down the hill and over the roof, launching themselves into the ether. Spread eagles all of them, landing mostly softly below. We sold the cabin when my mother was dying, I am not sure who owns it now.

Many of the original ramshackle cabins still exist as well as many newer better ones. Everywhere progress and change even on the mountain.

The original ski-club cabin.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bulkley Valley, Day 2 and 3

Coming into Houston. It's been raining on and off since Burns Lake where we bought Okanagon fruit from an idling delivery truck in a Husky parking lot. It had been hot and dusty in Prince George 4 hours earlier, I was glad the dog didn't come. Lakes, little or long line the highway through Fort Fraser. The landscape gets prettier and more gentle as you near the Bulkley Valley off in the distance at the base of Hudson Bay Mountain.

We were lucky enough to stay with dear family friends at a lake west of town. The mountain follows you everywhere. It's at the foot of main street and all the way out here at the Lake. I've told this story a thousand times but it's very true. When I was a kid our house faced the mountain and whenever someone came to visit who was not accustomed to living with a huge mountain topped with a glacier in their backyard all sorts of fanciful adjectives got tossed around. I found their shrieks of glee ridiculous and over done. A mountain. Who swoons at a mountain that way. I do, that's who. It was good to see the mountain again.

Bathers at the Lake. My siblings and I, our hosts and my daughter and husband. The mountain looks on. At 4 o'clock the kids from next door appear for ice cream and trudge up the hill where they are served their daily ration. We stay by the lake too relaxed to move imaging how we can do this again tomorrow.

The lovely cottage where we stayed. I slept well here knowing that my family was happy they had come along on this journey with me. I thought I might cry at some inopportune moment but the tears never quite came, my sleep was active instead.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Fraser Canyon Day 1

Driving north of Hope. The trees are replaced with sage.

The Thompson River meets the Fraser River, I think. The signage is poor along the road. The road conditions are sub-par considering the volume of traffic on the road.

 Dry, dry hills. 99 degrees out. Too hot to ride a horse. We have no stamina in the heat.

The reappearance of trees, small and scraggly clinging to the hillside, grass comes later, further up the road.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Road Trip to the Past

 Big sky and supplies at Lac La Hache

I wanted to go to Smithers. I didn't want to go to Smithers. All summer long we were allegedly going to Smithers. The drive is scary to me, it's long and the highway is undivided most of the way. It's lonely and empty and dusty and it can be hot or very cold and sometimes icy and always bumpy and under construction. The logging trucks and transport trucks are plentiful, huge and vicious. The first several hours of the drive seems to be straight uphill with the river below you on one side and a crumbling rock face above you on the other side. My head hurt, we couldn't listen to music, I was worried about the car making the trip, I was worried about being stranded in a hostile landscape in a country that has become foreign to me. I worried about my dog back at home in the kennel. In the video clips of our first night at Lac La Hache I can see how I have my hand over my mouth surveying the scene, trying to sort out what to do first. The next scene is of the tent set-up and I know by then I had had a beer and was feeling better. The clips of the following morning I look more relaxed, by the time we reached Smithers, 9 hours later, the video shows me warmly embracing my family members who had also come for the Centennial of our little town. We had made it, alive.

One of many roadside shrines to those who have died along the Yellowhead 16

Friday, August 2, 2013

Something Nice

This came in the mail yesterday. It was sent to me via artist Jeanne Williamson Ostroff from another artist, Danielle Dimston. I first encountered Jeanne in a book called Uncommon Quilter. She was ostensibly a quilter but over the past few years I have watched her make the transition from craft to fine art. In the Uncommon Quilter she makes 52, 12 x 12 quilt blocks out of a variety of materials, one per week. It's fascinating to go through the book and see the artist emerge through the process of making studies on a common theme. Eventually Jeanne moved away from sewing and has been painting and printing images on fabric. What began as studies based around construction fence patterns has evolved into in a diverse body of work including painting, prints, installations and now garments. I began following Jeanne on Facebook and she's been a real inspiration to me. She shows her work a lot and continues to make books on craft. I am astounded by her energy but I have a theory. I think women gain more energy and clarity after 50.

I had an amazing dream last night about being pregnant. In the dream and when I woke up I felt exhilarated and positive. I felt powerful, something I have not felt in some time. I am two days away from my period starting and although I have that heaviness in my legs, I am also trying to listen to what other messages my body is giving my brain and how my brain is answering back. These dream images must rise up for a reason. For months I have not remembered anything from the murkiness of sleep and then there is this clear shining image of creative potential (I am of course speaking metaphorically here, I have no interest in a baby at my age).

I found painter,  Danielle Dimston via Jeanne's blog. She makes postcards as part of her practice and sends them off here and there. I like the simplicity of her paintings and her dedication to exploration. Jeanne asked her if she could send me a card and here it is. I am looking forward to sending her one in return, here is an example of one of the postcards I sent some time ago.

Our sunny streak ended last night with a modest thunder storm and it rained in the night. The sky was gray all day, the air felt slightly crisp and there are dry leaves accumulating at the side of my blessed road. I wore jeans for the first time in 6 weeks. The air was heavy where the road dips down at the creek and I got a few whiffs of something dead. It was a distinct scent just hanging there above the ditch. Today it rained hard and I didn't walk. I took my daughter on an outing and avoided work which has been feeling a little forced with so many projects to produce. I needed a down day and wanted to spend some time with her beyond the time we spend locked in domestic routine together.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This writing everyday like it's a journal isn't really working. I can't write unselfconsciously. I can't make the time. I am thinking about things I should write, phrases and ideas and then because they come to me when my hands are full I don't write them down and then they are gone. My mind is mushy with hormones. I can't remember anything and it makes me wonder why we hold memory up as this thing that is so important. Why do we mourn memory loss of the demented and alzheimed, in the the brain damaged and the afflicted? I say good riddance! It's the past, it's gone, it's ether, this moment is all there is.

I am going home next week to the place I grew up, to the town that exists solely in my memory. The town has changed a lot in the 36 years since I lived there. I had mixed feelings about the whole trip. It's a long way and the drive is slightly treacherous. My childhood was filled with stories of horrible car crashes so my mind goes right there. I lost a friend in the second grade to a camper fire—I saw her Friday, Saturday she was dead—it happened in the night when the children were all asleep in the cab-over of some shitty camper and the gas leaked and the whole thing blew up. A fiery crash on some deserted stretch of the Yellowhead 16.

A childhood friends father died tonight. I saw it on facebook. I've been in contact with her, he had cancer. He was a good guy, totally dedicated to his kids. Oh my god he was handsome and so sexy. I thought so at ten. He was a truck driver some times his daughter and I would sleep in his king size water bed in his purple satin sheets. He was an operator I guess but he was her dad and he was there even when he wasn't. They had animals and an unfinished split level house that we used to bring her ponies into. The living room had Hawaiian scene wallpaper, oversize bean-bag furniture, and shag carpet, it was nirvana. We ran wild of course. It was the 1970's and no one's parents were keeping track of the kids. We slept in barns and drove trucks we weren't supposed to, and we rode those damn ponies all over hell's half acre.

It's Wednesday now. The weekend is over, my husband only left this morning to take the long drive into the city to do his radio show. I got up and took the dogs for a little walk in the yard and I let out the chickens. I combined the flocks two days ago and the new girls are still miffed and confused. Only one of them figured out to go into the coop last night, I carried the other five by hand. I am confident tonight will be better. Hens are so mean to each other and especially to the new residents. There's no welcome wagon let's show you around approach. It's more like I am going to peck you and steal your food because that's what I do. Only once has one of my hens taken a foundling literally under her wing and that chicken now enjoys second place in the flock behind the three oldest hens and above the pair of year old hens, a Cochin and a Royal Buttercup. Gingers and Freckles (three of each name) are just 4 months old, still not laying and are now going to bed at night nervous and exhausted in a strange land at the bottom of the pecking order.

The weather has been perfect for an entire month and even though the days are shortening slightly it's still light until 9 o'clock and the temperature is consistently pleasant. I am satiated by summer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Around Here

We cancelled our weekend plans.  I am out 30 bucks for a reservation but it's the price you pay. I've been home for a few days on my own now settling into the routine of work and dog care with occasional trips out to purchase berries or to pick them. The pressure to preserve fruit is heavy right now, how could I possibly entertain the idea of going away again when raspberries are finishing up and blueberries are coming on.

I am in love with my days, the lazy way they unwind. Yesterday, I inflated the blow-up pool and filled it up two-thirds with water as Mark requested. Today the temp was 58°F after a few hours of sun. Later on I'll pick berries again and even hope to cook a meal, something I have been neglecting. When I am home alone like this I regress into some pretty questionable eating habits. I am no ones model. I eat nachos for supper without vegetable accompaniment. I let the dishes sit where they were emptied.

Listening to music while I work, the doors to my office open wide. A breeze blows past and taps me on my bare shoulder, reminding me how lucky I am. I wish I had a signal to make, like the sign of the cross to acknowledge the greater force but my luck has no name it just blows in from outside me and I gather it up.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I'm not writing much these days so I thought I would bring the journal here for a bit and see what happens. It's Monday, a day of clarity, or a few hours of clarity at least. I make my lists on Sunday, dreaming in the car on the way back from the city about what I can do better this coming week, thinking a lot about my dad who we have just seen. He is in good form and I am more relaxed around him these days. Why oh why are you not completely relaxed around your own father? I am not sure. I want him to like me and respect me, I don't see it all as unconditional. The work we are doing at his house is coming along, I think he's glad we're doing it. He seems happy to have us there now and then. I try not to boss him too much. I try not to vacuum each and every time I visit. That's progress I guess. I saw Molly (my stepmother) on Sunday at Banfield, it's a depressing place but there are no other options, her state is depressing but she did recognize me and spoke my name immediately, she even wanted to say something about my new hair color but the words got garbled. Dad was sweet with her, telling her how beautiful she looked. I was odd, I've never heard him be that effusive with her but it was genuine and it seemed to cheer her up. She's sad. This current reality of hers is not one she ever would have chosen, living in public, letting others care for her body, dress her, apply her lipstick. The women who care for her are all saints. Why would anyone choose this work, choose to care for people who cannot care for themselves and in some case are very angry about the care. Molly is sedate. She is prone to outbursts of emotion. She always has been and that made me wary of her when she was well. These days I can see her frailty, her anguish and confusion. She seems to know what is going on but is powerless to control it. She doesn't ask to go home, does she even know anymore that home exists. Dad goes to see her most days, they have their little moments, he likes to make her laugh but I see what he is missing too. She adored him, and fussed over him, cared for him for years and now he is left with this current scenario and I worry about him feeling lonely at home. I hate to think about the loss of intimacy with Mark, I try to imagine us all old and creaky snuggling up as we do our bony legs covered in tissue paper skin in place of our once full flesh. My dad's legs are so thin and veiny now, I noticed that the other day. My concentration is blown, that's all for now.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

Dead herbs on my father's deck.
The pace of summer is rapid, like a fast dance. I am dancing through forests and wetlands but not so much along my own beloved road. I am never without a plastic cooler of some sort filled with food and drink. We must transport food and beverages from one place to another, we eat less but drink more during this season of rapid movement, of endless comings and goings.

We camped last weekend near Mt St Helen's at the edge of Silver Lake. The woods were thick with smoke from campfires and the occasional waft of septic off-gas, an invisible turd lingering gently above us. I made a point of getting us to water during the heat of the day and we were directed to a spot on the Touttle River. This river that was famously a sudden outlet for the water and debris blasted off the side of the mountain that May day in 1981. Considering that, the water was harmlessly shallow with some current, amber in color and filled with tiny creatures, swimmers, skimmers, lurkers. I waded up the little river and floated back down a few times letting the water take me with it. I found a flat rock jutting up out of the flow and sat there, the river running past me without stop, and spent some time surveying the other river seekers. I find it fascinating how people behave in nature. To me it is a deeply spiritual activity and should be done quietly with a humble posture and without excessive litter. Not everyone shares my opinion.

My daughter turned 15 this week without a lot of fanfare. I was never great at creating the super-fantastic birthday bash, and this year I bought her books for presents. Books! On the day of her birthday I played chauffeur and took her and couple of friends to the movies. We had pizza afterwards but only one girl slept over and on the way home the birthday girl was complaining of a sore throat. The price of too much activity. She spent a day on the couch and when she wasn't better the following day we went to the local doctor. In the car on the way back with a diagnosis of Strep she said, "I guess I am prone to throat ailments", and she is. Part of growing up is getting to know the limits of your body.

Today I am cleaning my father's kitchen and in the midst of the crumbs and coffee grounds and ant-traps I found myself sinking into the meditation of the work. I am here in a place maybe I don't want to be right this minute but I am here so I will do this work and relax into the moment. I haven't walked for the past few days and I worry about how missing the active meditation of walking will affect me. My schedule has not allowed for the walk the past several days, the kid getting sick, weekend trips, visits with friends. I jumped on my trampoline for 20 minutes on Thursday, that seemed good but I crave the walk.

The weather continues to be perfect, cooling just a little as we drift past the solstice. It's a whole month now. I am outdoors mostly or if I am in, the doors and windows are all open. The grass is just starting to turn brown, and like I said, it's a fast dance this summertime thing and dry grass signals where we are in the cycle. With that in mind we are compelled to get out into the sun, into nature and jump in up to our knees to receive the glory of it all. So that is where I am at, just drinking it all in every chance I get while still working away in a semi disciplined way.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Perfect Summer

How perfect has your summer been? Mine has been dreamy so far. I am in that perfectly relaxed, sandals and a see through shirt state of mind. I sleep late, stay up late, eat late, work late. I have struck some magical balance between the things I must do and things I want to do. And more important even than the perfect blond streaks I had put in my hair is my perfect mood. I am not depressed for the first time in quite a while.  I've had some panic attacks but only the ones that happen when I am falling asleep. Somehow I have managed to revitalize my thinking toward my work. I am allowing my schedule to be jumbled while still maintaining the component parts. Walking, working, eating, floating, making and now added to the list is harvesting. The valley I live in is filling with ripe berries and so at this time of the year you have to set less important things aside and go and pick berries and bring them home and process them in the perfect way that is best for you. The whole activity is perfectly peaceful. Summer is the best looking of the season sisters, golden haired and tan and smelling of sweet grass. I shut my eyes and laid my head back on a late night drive home on the 4th of July and let the heavens pass over me dressed in the night air. We walk on grass and eat salads made from the few ingredients in the fridge. We drink cheap beer and eat watermelon and ice cream. It's natural to want to know what causes the depression. Is it stress about money? When work is plentiful I feel better but that's not everything. The weather helps but I started feeling better when it was still cold. It's some other tide that rises when your back is turned, diet and exercise play a part but only a part. Right now it just feels good that what I am working at seems to be working. Step over step, keeping my hands in the air waving to all who pass.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A long silence

The weather has been mixed. The bees are frantic in the kiwi vines above the path to my office. I can hear them buzzing furiously as I pass. They are oblivious to the dense clouds shifting back and forth in the sky, time is of the essence as the blossoms fall like snow at my feet. One minute glorious sun the next, atomic darkness. My pupils are sore from all the adjusting. The bees are charged.

I am trying to keep up with my integrated approach to my work keeping my guilt about certain activities at bay. I have a little chant, take breaks, take care of yourself, rest, work, repeat. Overall my energy to work has been good. I have gone from light work to almost every client I have every known contacting me seemingly overnight. I am sticking to my routine which seems to hold me together and I am making lists like a fiend and following them. I am not letting my mind go wild which seems counterintuitive but the result is calming. I stick to the structure of my day and complete the items on the list. I am talking to people, I have made more phone calls this last month than I made all last year. I can hear a change in my voice. I feel as though the blog has suffered because I feel well, but that is a twisted notion. I am writing now, that is positive.

Sons of Norway, Mission BC Vintage Trailer Meet

(long pause)

I didn't finish this post. It has been sitting here in a tab on my laptop. What have I been doing? What haven't I been doing? Writing is the main thing I haven't been doing. But the good thing is that I am busy, doing things, feeling well. School is out and so we are gliding into summer which for me means working diligently but also sliding in more recreational activities. When the weather is fine, one must get out.

We just spent 3 days on the Coast helping a family member manage his life. It wasn't so bad. There was the usual tension between Mark and his siblings when this work has to be done but they have agreed to do it, and so they do it willingly. No matter where you are in life there is the potential to be someone's caretaker or at least take part in the care of another human being. Our helpee lives in a small trailer park near a creek on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast. Whenever I visit there I imagine what it would be like, how one could arrange a minimal space and make it pleasant. Many of the residents have sweet little set-ups, making the best of where they are. Others are a little less polished or welcoming but the world is full of all types. Gardeners and hoarders, smokers and the deranged. We all have to end up somewhere and I like to imagine various possibilities so that if I ended up in a 16ft travel trailer with a joey-shack-sunroom and a sidewalk scooter I'd be okay with it. There are many ways to live, the point is to be happy with where you are and make it the best, for you.

So the summer means mobility and that means I have to get used to working everywhere because there is work that needs to be done. It's fine, it's better than fine. The routine of work keeps me sane and money keeps me from being a burden, and doing it in different places is freeing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I had a migraine on Tuesday brought on by whatever causes these things. I felt horrendous for about 18 hours and then after the pain subsided I was left with rising anxiety and severe heart palpitations accompanied by acute self awareness spiked with massive dread. These feelings rise up in me and I get thrown off, I feel lost and afraid to be alone. And then as quickly as they arrive the feelings disappear and the intense despair is replaced by my normal happy outlook, keen to embrace the day in all it's mundane wonder and I am left wondering if any of it really happened. 2 versions of the same picture sliding apart and then back together overlapping each other calmly. Fortunately for me I have an extraordinary partner and friends who have known way more misery than I ever will and they are always nearby when I need them most. My work is busy again and to counterbalance the stress of being creative for a living I have been helping my good friend in her garden. I am going once a week. We have a little visit and discuss this and that and then I help her with a few tasks. On my way home last week I felt an overwhelming sense of well-being. I am well. Well I am.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It