Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Um. Tomorrow is March. Last February? I had a tan. I did. This is too, too much. I was Spring Cleaning yesterday. Spring.

This is tonight.

This is this morning. CH News was in the hood to do a story on the "Convenience Store." Go figure. The lady working locked the door and wouldn't let them in. They interviewed three neighbours instead and are waiting the to air the story until after interviewing the owner. She happens to be in Ontario right now. Here's the thing. The lady working left when the news crew was there. Two hours later, when the news crew was gone, she returned and some cars arrived. Four duffel bags left that store today in those cars. What was in those bags? Blackmarket cigarettes? Crack pipe supplies? Supplies for making meth in the trunk of your car? Who the hell will know now? No one. Today there were crack heads everywhere around here looking for drugs.

And making deals in the street....blatantly. This is at 6 pm, when we called the RCMP about drug activity.

This is 6:15 pm. They are not smoking cigarettes or pot.

They are STILL not smoking cigarettes or pot.

This is 9pm....when the cops seem to arrive to our 6pm call. Rousting one person from the alley. Where were they when?!? Um.....that's it for tonight, folks. That's all I got.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I think I can see me.....

I believe I am beginning to feel more myself again lately...let me tell you why I believe this even though I don't actually feel much like myself again yet. I started cleaning again. Yippur. That's the kicker. I threw out all the pens that didn't work, got rid of pencils that had no erasers or were too short to hold onto, emptied the drawers of cards and letters that I will never read again...I got rid of an entire garbage bag of clothes. I cleaned and rearranged(or actually, more to the point , just plain ARRANGED) my kitchen cupboards, inside and out. And I am not finished....not by a long shot.
This is my the 50's. The only really hard part of putting winter to rest every year is hanging up my winter coat. My good winter coat.

This is it.

See that stencil and the name tag? This was my dad's pea coat. It keeps me warmer than any other coat ever did, ever could or ever will.

He gives me a hard time about the dog hair on it, so let's not tell him about this, okay?

Ah, and the fridge came...don't ask me about the laundry stuff yet. The plumbing downstairs isn't finished yet so I can't even look at my new washing machine yet. It would just be too, too painful. I am wearing my last pair of clean jeans, though, so I hope it's soon. But isn't she(the fridge) beautiful? Even lacking magnets? She's quiet, too. And clean. And easy to clean...

That's the old fridge on the left, waiting for B.C. Hydro to come pick her up on the will be good to be done with it and have it out of my way. Then I can clean up that room, too.
Yesirreeee...I am coming back.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Piper's Lagoon

Well, Friday past was a glorious day with no rain, some blue sky and gorgeous clouds. I couldn't round up anyone else for dog walkies so I headed to the north end. I love the parks out here, with the beaches and the garry oak groves... they are not really off-leash friendly(unless deserted, which they were) but Emma is not an off leash dog...maybe someday...but no day soon. Piper's Lagoon. I used to walk Maggie here nearly every day, off leash...but she was doddering and slow. She loved this park, the warm sand, the trails through the brush where she could always smell and occasionally SEE the wild was more than enough for her. The rabbits make Emma INSANE!!!!! Isn't that cloud cool?
And treasures abound after the winter the end of summer, the bits of beach glass will be tiny, few and far between, completely picked over by other beachcomers and the summer's low tides do little to refresh the supplies...but Friday I loaded my pockets with bits of blue and green and white....
The piles of drift and logs are amazing after the winter storms and high tides. I LOVE driftwood. The forms are curvaceous, lush, rich. They fill me with visions of the human form, fish, flora, fauna....and I would take it all home, if I could and fill my yard with nature's carvings.

Eem-er's long shadow makes my heart ache. God, I want to let her off the leash. She wants to run, she wants to run, she wants to run. I hate that leash. I wish she would come when she heard her name.

And my Garry Oaks....they are like magic. I imagine fairies and elves, magic and dancing lights. They look like they should be human.

Isn't that fantastic?

This is SUPPOSED to be Shack Island...winter tides are never this low. Weird. There is usually water between us and them until summer low tides. These are summer cabins, grandfathered to families. You can't buy one or sell one. Did you ever read the YaYa Sisterhood? When the moms and kids would all go to the riverside cabins to beat the summer heat? That's what these remind me of.

I was not the only one out with a camera on Friday....but I doubt that this guy was jealous of my camera. I sure as hell was jealous of his, though.
Thanks for walking with me....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm a big girl now

Tomorrow morning, Sears delivers the very first brand new appliances I have ever owned in my whole know, besides a hair dryer or a coffee maker. I will be the proud owner of three, count'em, three, energy saving appliances...a front load washer that can wash up to twenty towels(not that i own twenty towels!) or a king size duvet (not that I have a king size duvet)!!!!! It will use about a cup and a half of water(kidding) and a couple of teaspoons of soap(NOT KIDDING) per load. One top loading but energy efficient dryer and one stainless steel, 5 star rated energy efficient whirlpool fridge.... which makes me deliriously happy until I recall that my magnets will not stick to stainless I have 90 days to change my mind on the fridge. And honestly? My magnets are THAT important to me. I may have to change the fridge.
In preparation for the new fridge, I have already taken down lots of things... all my "found" things, the shopping lists and children's drawings I have found on the street that intrigued me. I have pasted them into the pages of my cookbook so that I remember to visit them once in a while. But where will the rest of it go?
#1 Magnetic poetry and vintage butterflies....I NEED THESE.
#2 Johnny requires quite a bit of room, as you can see.
#3 Postcard of my hometown and you can see my house in it...lest I forget where I came from
#4 Postcard from Alien Caffeine in Roswell...I lost the first one I had so I drove a thousand miles to go back to the coffee shop again to replace it.
#5 Beat Nervosa friend's band
#6 Tank Girl
#7 Post card that says" The Scenery is here. Wish you were Beautiful." It has been on every fridge I have had since I left home.
#8 Card from my friend that says: I think we should go bowling in Canada. That way, when we are old, we can say, "Remember that time we went bowling in Canada?"
#9 Coffee filter wrapper that says Emma, held up by homemade beagle magnets, some of which are Maggie.
#10 Cara's homemade magnets
#11 One unused Olympia Beer bottle cap made into a magnet from when they once actually bottled Olympia Beer in Olympia
#12 Naughty Housewife Magnets from Em.
#13 Eeyore...been up on my fridge for at least 15 years(Thanks for noticing me)
#14 Felix the Cat, the wonderful, wonderful Cat. Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks.
#15 Garbage and Recycling schedule. Where would I be without this?
And there are more magnets, too many to get into. They are holding up precious photos of Michael in his younger years with long, flowing hair...very Eddie Vedder-ish...and Maggie...and photos of my dog's friends....yes I put photos up for my dog to look at. Yes, yes, I do.
Emily just let me know she has a magnetic bulletin board and it has my name on we'll give this new fridge a whirl. We have 90 days, right?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

just another damn day in the hood

Bust, again. Across the street in one of the upstairs apartments. You know the ones, right? The ones selling crack....only they probably don't think it's illegal to sell crack here since.... you can go right downstairs and legally buy a crack pipe from this "CONVENIENCE STORE." Go figure. I don't really understand that one myself...nor do I understand the city granting this woman a business license. Once again, I can't buy a frickin' tomato there, but I can get a crack pipe, cigarettes, condoms and lighters...It says GROCERIES on her awning, not CRACK SUPPLIES.
This brown van? He drives around selling drugs. He was parked outside her store for a long time selling drugs to folks going in for pipes and such, though from the scary look of the guy, I would guess he may be moving meth. Of course, he's gone before the police ever respond. I know cuz we have called repeatedly about this van. I should just get a video camera and give a power point presentation at the next city council meeting....where I will be poo-pooed and I will once again watch the mayor's eyes roll in exasperation that we down here in the South End should want or deserve safe streets. I have watched those eyes roll personally more than once.

Here is a hooker getting into this blue van. She has just been to the brown van and to the store. I am really sorry that I didn't get the camera up in time. She was dressed like she was going to the Hooker's Ball or something. In-freaking-credible. I almost hope she comes back cuz I want to see the next outfit.

This is all happening in the course of a single morning...and only what I have taken pictures of...I know I rant often and I hope you can all bear with me. My hope being that maybe somebody(many somebodies) out there are Googling Nanaimo right now and hoping to come and visit. I hope that when they Google all the bright sunny sites that rave about Nanaimo, the will see mine, too. They will see that a vital, historic and beautiful neighbourhood in the precious downtown core is being regularly overlooked in the process of beautifying the downtown proper. The open air drug market of China Steps has absolutely been driven into the residential south end neighbourhoods. And though the RCMP and City Council could not turn a blind eye to it in the midst of the shopping district, they sure can turn a blind eye here...well, some of them just ROLL their eyes.
Last night was a crying shame and I don't even want to go into the whole story because I wouldn't know where to start or when to end. Okay, short story. Three cop cars, and seven cops confronted a car with a prostitute and her pimp who were selling drugs on our street. There were WITNESSES, hello? We all called in. And all three cars and seven officers? Let them stay. Didn't check the car, the backpack, didn't even smell the guy's breath and he was parked two feet away from the curb! Someone would have me walk a toe to toe line, touch my nose with my eyes closed for that parking job!!! My friend and neighbour has been hauled to jail for sleeping in his car on the street and he wasn't high, or drunk, or a prostitute, or selling drugs.....damn, I said it would be short, huh? Sorry.
So, let's go for a dog walk and get away for a bit, okay? To Morrell Wildlife Sanctuary...and Sanctuary for the broken downtown Nanaimo homeowner.
And ducks.

C'mon pile in the car with us....

We're on our way....


I will try to be shiny and happy know, I didn't even really feel that awful today(we had sunshine)....but once I started telling you about it, it just poured out. I am off to take some St. John's Wort.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

methodology on beating the blues....

Okay, so my methodology is barely working....I am taking St. John's Wort like candy and I should lay off the beer(but it does help!) and spend more time on the elliptical machine....but every single day, I take Eem-er(Emma) and myself and perhaps a couple of neighbours and their gods(OOOOH, I did mean DOGS, didn't I?) out for walkies. And that helps me to remember that Spring is we saw pussywillows blooming but I didn't have my camera. So you will have to settle for these...whatever they are, they are proof that Spring is coming and the days ARE getting longer. Just this morning, I kicked Michael out of bed cuz I thought he slept through the alarm once again...only to discover that there was still one half hour until it went off. It was THAT light. Of course, soon after, the clouds rolled in. And, of course, the snow drops just keep on coming up...HOORAH! Gives me hope.
But, every morning, Michael leaves for work and I doze off again. Then I wake up and wonder who this person in the bed is...this sad and angry person. I want her to go away, but, of course, it's me. Is it the season? Is dealing with this neighbourhood becoming too much? Is it the rain and the grey and just because it's February and winter has dragged on for so long I can't remember what it feels like to have warm bones? Those of you with SADS know what I am talking about, right? Why am I so angry all the time? So I drag myself out of bed and walk the dog...and find magic for a moment.

Like here, at Chase River Estuary, where a smallish flock or family or gaggle of swans has made it's wintering place. Sometimes they are closer, but never when I have my camera with me....go figure.

And these eagles.....

When things are real low, I can jump in the car and head out to Shady Mile for some good local farm produce, some local farm meat, farm fresh eggs... and???? Feed the animals in the "petting" area. It's not like these animals are trapped with thousands of people touching them. There are fences between them and you so if they want to deal with you, they will. And if they don't?

Well, you get the picture, right? "Ho hum. Humans. Boring."

Sparky , here, is one of my favourites....he could care less....but he raises my endorphin level a few notches. I don't like the name though, unless you are an electrician. Then? Sparky is a great name.

I don't know what it is that coming out here and feeding these animals does for me...I only know that it helps. Much like making this big lasagna tonight, out of the blue, and calling my friends to come eat at our home tonight helps. Wanna come, anyone? Open invitation.

How is everyone else feeling these days? Is it just the winter blahs? It seems so much stronger this year and I don't like it.

But I do like this tractor and I want to bring it home to my garden.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

hello, goodbye

Home repairs and renovations continue. It was so much easier to rent, really. So we have embarked on the tedious job of repainting the basement before our new appliances(gasp) arrive...fancy, schmancy washing machine and a not so fancy, schmancy dryer. I don't spend too much time in the basement...basements, in general, tend to creep me out a bit. But, all the same, there I was, painting away when I found this........... See that? Those are the last remnant of our kitty cat, Crook. I found these dirty little footprints where he scaled the bookshelves to investigate the top of this cupboard. He was always dirty. Last week, I think I found the last of his little schmouses under the entertainment center. Sadly, we are painting and I did have a little difficulty covering these prints...but, I do know they are there, forever, beneath two fresh coats of blue because I did not have the heart to wash them away before painting over them.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

portrait of an artist...

No, not really a portrait...that would be too personal for his comfort...but I wanted to show you some of Michael's artwork. A canvas is not usually very big. Sometimes it's not even canvas...layered in acrylic paints that tell abstact stories of landscapes, rich in colour and'll want to touch them, press the fleshy pad of your thumb into the hills, follow the course of the water with a light fingertip, cup the textured corners in the palms of your hands.
And my photos do no justice, of course. I am not sure there is way to capture all that texture, and the way the colours change, with a camera... all the same, click on the photos, make them bigger and explore the paintings a bit. Some of the texture, colour and light does come through.

This is one he is working on right not...not finished, obviously, but one of my favourites already. It is like sitting at the top of a brilliant forest canopy, staring out over the vastness of it all. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Another work in progress. This one is close to finished...the storming sea being the important aspect, the cityscape less "intense," less interesting, full of colour and dramatic height, but flat, all the same.

Now this painting we have a long-standing silent argument over. I think it needs to hang this way. The surreal bottom of the world stretching away to a horizon underneath, the mountains rising up towards the racing sky. Next time I look at the wall, he's turned it over so that the flat horizon is on top and it is cliffs descending into a choppy sea. I know that makes more literal sense, but I like my way so much I turn it back over and our silent conversation begins again.

One last look see... hope you enjoyed...follow the link, too. Those are older paintings, but some of my favourites(and his, too). He looks really young in the photo, too, with so much more hair than I ever remember seeing on him! He's much more handsome now! Trust me. I don't even recognize that guy.

Be sure to hit the "Thumnail Index" on the linked page. He has more paintings on that page than what is shown initially. I wouldn't want you to miss anything!
Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Candy Day

A little treat to you from me...and my favourite Songbird, Willie Nelson.
Valentine ~ by Willie Nelson
Valentine won't you be my Valentine
And introduce your heart to mine

and be my Valentine ?
Summertime, we could run and play like summertime,

With storybooks and nursery rhymes, so be my Valentine.
Candy heart, if anyone could, you could have a candy heart.

You're the sweetest of all sweethearts.
Won't you give your heart to me ?

Can't you see? I love you, valentine?
Won't you be my Valentine

And won't you share your space with mine and be my Valentine?
[ guitar ]
Candy heart if anyone could...