Wednesday, January 31, 2007


It's been a wee bit busy in the hood lately, if you know what I mean. There is a push going on from somewhere and we must begin to push back. It sucks that the only way to deal with these issues is to just move them around the south end. Too F'ing bad federal and provincial and city leaders are such shit, ass hats. And so is Vancouver Island Health Authority, by the way. And, so is the Salvation Army here....every one of them....Ass-hats. Non-profit, my ass. Sorry. I'm a bit ticked, can you tell? These two are here selling drugs...they were so cracked up that, of course, they thought they were invisible...and, of course, the RCMP were called and responded 45 minutes later. You all remember how many blocks we are from the RCMP station, right? Three. By that time, they had moved on.
The night before we left for Kamloops, Fire, Emergency and RCMP responded to the corner. I didn't go out for a closer was Sid and Nancy again. I would rant, but what would be the point? And, again, he didn't go to jail. How much city taxpayer money is spent in emergency and police response to just these two people? Shouldn't they have to spend some time in jail just for that? Shouldn't someone get arrested just because they are flushing so much of our time and energy down the toilet? Besides, if you could keep Sid away from Nancy, maybe she would think about getting out of here, going home to her family, getting out of this lifestyle...maybe. Could happen.

Then, the night we came home, deja vu. Well, it wasn't Sid and Nancy but it was the same's the house on the corner. I don't even want to know. Ya know?

And then? Today? Five RCMP cars, five, stop this guy in a green Astrovan out front. Five cars. Wow. Now he must be a scary guy, right? They get him out, pat him down, smile, joke, deposit him in the back of a police car. One by one, the RCMP units disaapear, and only the car with the "perp" is left. I figure they're waiting for a tow truck or something....but no, the RCMP officer has a little chat with the fella they just had four back up units assist in arresting and lets the guy out of his car and the guy gets into the van and drives away with the cop following with his lights on. What is that about? Anyone?

Only in Nanaimo, right...or am I wrong?

Monday, January 29, 2007


John, October 22, 1942-January 22, 2007
Just before Christmas, Michael's father began losing weight, having trouble eating, sleeping. He went to the doctor and they found "something" on his pancreas. "Something." And then they set a date to take a biopsy and sent him home. On the 17th of January, he went back for his biopsy and he went home again. On the 21st of January, he was admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms, which he and his wife believed was, in fact, flu, as she was very ill with it herself. They thought it was a temporary set back and she left him there for the night, resting comfortably, in good spirits. In the morning, the hospital could not wake him and he passed very gently from us around 10 am, very gently, with his wife beside him. At 2:30 that afternoon, January 22, his biopsy results came in...pancreatic cancer.

After the first phone call in December, I don't believe this was an unexpected thing, by any means. It was so startlingly quick, though. We had hardly even blinked our eyes. Pancreatic cancer is stealthy. There is no pain involved in the beginning. By the time symptoms present, it is already too late. Five weeks. Five weeks.

Perhaps that is grace. He could have suffered so much more than he did. He just went to sleep, still optimistic of going home the next morning.
I will tell you a little of what I know about John... he was raised by a strong woman on a dairy farm in the BC Interior, near Spences Bridge. He loved cars, driving them, restoring them, racing them. He served in the Canadian Air Force overseas, where he was goalie for the Canadian Air Force Hockey Team(he is the little guy in the goalie gear in the centre of the picture above)... quite possibly the smallest goalie to ever grace the ice, playing a game that he loved. He helped to raise two sons, one of whom I love and adore and am forever thankful for. He loved breakfast at Ricky's.
He was well travelled, both during his career and after retirement. Because his dog loved to ride in the car, every day, whether he had an errand to run or not, he would put Taffy in the car and drive somewhere just to make her happy. He was an engaging guy with eyes that crinkled into half-moons when he smiled and they twinkled, he laughed lots in our times together, he wore his hair like a 50's matinee idol, was a sharp dresser who rolled his sleeves up high on his arms...he had a quick, sharp wit but used those powers for good and not evil...he will be missed.
We have been in the arms of John's family, Michael's family, all week. It was not a maudlin, morose time, but full of laughter and stories. Sometimes sad, yes, but there is a certain strength in that kind of sadness.
However, John was an intrinsically cheerful man, at least the John I knew, and I think that came across well this past week.
Thanks to all of you who wrote, were worried about my absense. I appreciate your concern. I missed you all so much. I am well, we are well. I will be catching up with you all this week. Talk to you soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007


On a clear day, you can see forever...those are mountains on the "mainland" over there....40 miles or so across the water, I think. Oh, sorry. 64 Kilometres, about. If it is this clear at night, you can see the lights of Vancouver. Pretty cool. Like I said, I have had a difficult time thinking of things to write about lately, but I believe that I should write. It's an exercise, of sorts. It makes me digest things I see around me in order to put things into words that make sense. I live my life in a very emotional way and have often found it difficult to articulately communicate what I want to convey...I think that is what my pictures are all about. So, I thought a bit about memories that I have that involve snow...and there aren't many. It never used to snow so much on this west coast. I hardly remember any snow in my childhood winters....but here goes. The winter when I was four it snowed lots. We lived at the top of 5th Street, the top of the steep hill out of downtown. Mom was driving up the hill and had almost made it in what was to be my own car one day(1972 Datsun B510), when the wheels just started slipping and we slid three blocks back down the hill, backwards, into somebody's front yard, just missing the power pole. My mom was hysterical.
I remember a trip with my mom, her boyfriend and his two daughters to Mount Rainier to go "tubing." It must have been warm in Olympia because we arrived at the mountain in shorts. It was cold but we had so much fun riding those giant tubes down the snowy hills, so much fun. Our legs were bright red from the chill of it, but we were all laughing hysterically. It was one of the best days I can remember having with my mom...ever.

I remember one grade school winter when it snowed and I had nothing but a puffy blue sleeveless jacket to wear, which I wore with short sleeves...I think I have seen the same coat on Kelso in "That 70's Show." It made me very nostalgic...

That same winter, we had a cold snap...lasted for two weeks or so. It is the one and only time I have been outdoor iceskating. It was cold enough for long enough to freeze the pond by my uncle's place. That doesn't normally happen in these parts. Absolutely weirdest part of that day is uncle had enough ice skates for at least a dozen of us to go iceskating. Why? When it only freezes like that once every 30 years(maybe) would he have that many pair of ice skates? It still bothers me.

I went cross-country skiing twice in my teen years. Hated it both times. In my mid twenties, I went snowboarding and fell in love with it. It was the early days of boarding, not so "mainstream" and not all the ski hills would let you up there to board. But I couldn't really afford ski hills anyway, so my friends and I would drive out to the real hills and know, walk up the hill dragging the board behind you, go down and then trudge back up? Kind of like "tubing" or sledding, I guess. Lord, it was fun and we were exhausted at the end of the day.

Later, in my late twenties, when I left Oregon to go to Colorado in an old Jeep pulling an ancient trailer, I left in what I thought was spring, but drove through snowstorm after snowstorm until I reached Cortez. One night, I came to a place I believe was called Strawberry Lake, but I couldn't see where the road ended and the lake began due to snow. It was terrifying driving conditions, but even at the time, I was awestruck by the tremendous beauty of it, the force of Mother Nature, and the knowledge that she will win when all is said and done. I stopped at a diner in the middle of nowhere and the waitress ordered me to park in the lot for the night. That night, in the midst of the snowstorm, my trailer was surrounded by a herd of mule deer sheltering on the lee side of the diner with me. That was a surreal night.
Well, that's it for now. Talk to you later.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

the big melt

Our weather turned last is raining out there now and the mess is enormous. All that ice and snow melting away in one fell swoop. Slogging though it with the dog this morning wasn't pleasant and I don't anticipate the afternoon hike will be much better. ..but it is warmer. I do like that. I will be able to wrap up the snow and ice photos soon...and maybe take a look around me at other things.
It sure has been beautiful, though.

And I will miss the magical moments dressed in white that took my breath away...

but there will be other moments to take their place.

Of this, I am sure. So, still with no real story to blog about, I am sharing these moments with you all again. There will be some more to share in the next coming days. Maybe I will come up with a blog topic then...what do you think?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


It's hard to believe the snow is still here. It is beginning to melt away, or blow away during the days now, but the nights are cold and the ice remains. The predicted snow for yesterday did not arrive and I have not checked the weather site to see if it is still in the forecast. Off to Morrell Bird Sactuary for another dog walk and photograph tour. Despite the cold, I can't seem to take enough pictures and I am out walking the dog(s) two, sometimes three times a day, trying to snap every last photo I can while the opportunities are there. I am almost sick of editing them, to tell you truth. Today, I am opting to paint the ceiling in the basement instead of photography...after I post, of course.
It's not that I even have anything to really write about lately. I just wander around the walking spots in a daze...amazed at every little sparkle of light on snow, every play of colour in ice. I wish I could capture it all.

But, quite often what I photograph is not how I saw the moment. The above photo is one example. I took about 15 pictures of these little diamonds of icicles dangling from the wispy threads of this tiny bush, gently riding the current of the stream back and forth. It was breathtaking but I just couldn't capture it in the lens. I went back yesterday for some more photos of this spot but haven't worked on them yet. We'll have to wait and see how they turned out.

This, also, seemed so much more magical when I wasn't looking through the camera. The tiniest of ice crystals laid out like a carpet along our path. The light bouncing off in greens and blues and yellows around us as we walked up the hill. Magic.

Morrell Lake is frozen over. Yuko walks on water. Don't worry, we checked the thickness before we let her on the ice and never let her go further than arm's length. We're not nuts here, ya know!

Emma tries to follow, once again frustrated and hampered by that damn leash.

I like the ice crystals rising up out of the ground...the water from the oversaturated dirts freezing and having to go somewhere, rises straight up. I see tiny cities of ice everywhere, fall in love with every step I take. I always wonder how many people just walk on through without taking a single moment to get lost.

Monday, January 15, 2007

snow days

Life imitating art again...once I get on a theme, it is difficult to distract me. Okay, here is painting by Bev Doolittle. And here is a photo by me.....and I am done for now.

We have had lots of dog walkies lately...everyone loves the snow. It brings out the wild in everyone, especially Emma's friend, Yuko.

It even makes the boat in the neighbour's yard pretty. Living on an island, you'd be suprised just how many boats, once put in someone's yard, never touch water again. Well, rain, obviously. In this case, snow...but you get my point. Right? And my wisteria looks almost as good dressed in snow as it does dressed in purple blooms.

Okay, back to the dog we are at Harewood Mines. We were the first ones out there after the big dump. Our prints were the only ones. It was pretty special.

It was also pretty cold. We were bundled. It's still cold. Really cold. It keeps the snow nice but for us wimps(yes, I am a wimp, I know it!), it's just about enough, really.

See? No tracks...that is pretty nice.

Notice any dogs? Nope? They have all gone beserk by this point and are off crashing through the snow, noses down like snowplows, pushing up great piles over their heads. They are crazed by the white, snuffling and snorting until they come up sneezing snow and then right back to it. Except poor Emma, linked to me with a leash because she won't come back to me when called...poor little frustrated creature. Me, that is. I hate that leash just about as much as she must. I have no clear idea how to get past this impasse. She comes when we call her indoors, but outside her hunting instincts take over and it's like I am no longer even there. Yesterday's news.

My favourite arbutus grove, the red wood looks so beautiful against the white background. Every walk is a new discovery of the same things. I will have to take you to Morrell Bird Sanctuary tomorrow...since I don't really have any stories to tell right now, unless you really want to hear about painting the basement...which does look ten thousand times better, thanks for asking!

Our footprints going out cross over our footprints going in....

and time for me to head along now, too. The sun has reached my side of the street and melted the ice off the car and I have some errands to run this morning.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Buddha in Snow

It's cold here, cold enough for the snow to stay...still fluffy, still white. That's not a normal west coast snow kind of thing. It usually gets slushy and wet, crusty on the top, with mud mixed in. I guess I should be thankful for the cold because at least the snow remains beautiful. I should remain at peace with the weather...
...and not wonder why a tap on the front of my house that was turned off has a giant icicle hanging off of it. I shouldn't worry where that water came from, right? It's long as everything is frozen, anyway.

I shouldn't worry that even the crows can't keep ahead of the snow...we have snow-spotted crows staring in the window at us. They know there is heat in here. They are making me nervous. I've seen "the Birds."

And I shouldn't worry that the Gabriola Ferry is running the day after they nearly plunged a man to his death by pulling away from the dock while he was being told to load his vehicle on. They figured it all out, right? Why he had to jump out of his truck at the very last minute while it tipped off the ramp into the bay? Nah, I don't have to worry about that one. I am never leaving this island again. Sheesh.

And I don't need to worry that the ice is getting so bad that RCMP are directing motorists not to go up or down the hill downtown...because I am not driving anywhere right now. No way. Not down that hill, anyway.

But, still...see what I do have to worry about? It's f'ing freezing out there and have got to be kidding me. There's an f'ing hooker across the street. Nobody was out cruising in this weather, she's not one of the regulars, and she does not look the part. She was there for hours, literally. After a good, long while, I actually started to feel sorry for her. It was damn cold.

But then? Someone showed up to make a drug deal with her, right here on my street...where my friends live, and my neighbours' live with their children and I was not so inclined to worry about her anymore...and have been trying to think of a new plan to put into action to discourage johns from picking up hookers here...I have a few ideas in mind. Anyone else?

Friday, January 12, 2007


Maxfield Parrish is one of my favourite artists. He captured moments in time that really, truly are moments. That exact moment of sunrise or sunset that bathes everything in beauty...where there is nothing but grace in the world around us. This is Maxfield. Have you been graced by these moments? I have found these precious minutes throughout my life. In Hawaii, around 5:30am to 6am, there is a moment, one moment, where everything is bathed in red light. It is glorious...and astounding. In Colorado, it happens a lot. I think it has something to do with how high in the atmosphere I was there, and the particular colour of blue in the sky there. Texas had it in the stormy seasons when the clouds hit the hot sun at daybreak. Here, those moments are not as reliable. Two nights ago, Maxfield Parrish painted our skies.

This is me.

Once again, this is Maxfield.

And this is Maxfield.

And this, this is Maxfield, as well. Doesn't it make you take a deep breath and just feel...I don't know.......good? And it's a painting. It's something done with strokes of paint, with a brush, on canvas...but it feels almost as good as the real thing. This is Maxfield.

And this? This is me, with a little help from the powers that be. This is one of those moments when my breath catches, my heart aches, but it is a good ache, and I am in love with the world around me.

Moments that make me want to cry, but they would be tears of joy. Tears that convey all the things that I do not have words for...thank you. Thank you. I love the gifts given.

Once again, Maxfield.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

I nominate....

Michael found this online today and sent it to me.... a site where we can nominate our favorite blogs of 2006....for an an Emmy or a Juneau for blogs...better yet, like the Stanley Cup of Blogtown....and a cash prize of(hold your breath) $20.07 U.S. currency...I know who I am nominating(and no, it is not myself!!!!) you?
Let's get the word around, okay? Wouldn't be a hoot and a half if somebody we all read daily won????
On your mark, get set, gooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!