The First Month


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 The sky over English Bay – Sept 5, 2014

Today marks one month on the new job and it has gone by in a blink.  Nothing unusual about this though.  Time seems to move far more swiftly when we are enjoying ourselves, does it not?

I will have a very full pallet over the next few months.  Of this I have no doubt.  The job is beginning to take shape and I like the vision that is emerging.  There is going to be a great deal to organize and co-ordinate and I am embracing the challenge like never before.  I became incredibly excited today as we met with a rep from the software company that is designing and building a new program platform for the office set to launch on November 1, 2014.

There was an absolute thrill that ran through me.  This is the opportunity I’ve long waited for.  To learn, evolve, grow and expand with a company at the root level of an expansion.  I love it!  Today seemed to pass quicker than most and my neurons are fired up on all cylinders.

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Flying off into the sunset!

 

I will be meeting up with my photography group shortly to take in and capture what will be a fabulous sunset.  Summer is fading fast.  I’ve not spent near the amount of time outside that I would have preferred.

I stopped at Moxie’s on Davie Street for a nibble.  I’ve not been here in quite some time.  I sat watching the masses as they moved up and down this busy corridor.  Some are tourists, some are locals that live in the area, while others are getting off work and either meeting up with friends or heading home.

Then there are those who’ve taken a wrong turn in life and kept on going.   I feel a sadness when I see someone who has made this choice.

A man stood on the street a moment ago screaming at what and at whom I cannot say.  I could feel his frustration and anger from some 100 feet or more away.  For many they get into the drugs or alcohol or both to numb whatever pain is chasing them.   Oh sure, I would imagine there are those who fall into it innocently enough and become their addiction’s slave, but many who take this route are looking to dull or nullify something.

The problem is that you can become so numb to everything in this organic world of ours that you no longer find any of it desirable.  Somehow being in a drug induced and/or artificial haze is comparable to living.  And when you system is screaming at you to stop and you don’t….well, then you just keep falling.

Rock bottom can certainly vary.

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I will say this though, falling hurts.  Falling has a weight attached to it that becomes increasingly heavier the further you fall.  It’s not easy to crawl back up to the surface but it can be done.  Many, however, don’t make it.

So like the fellow I saw a short time ago whose hair was unkempt and the clothes on his back had likely not been laundered in a good long while, many of these lost souls scream and blame the world around them and the people that are in it for the circumstance and station in life.

Many walked past him seemingly oblivious to the man’s outrage, while other gave him a very wide berth.  None stopped to ask if he required help.  I would not have stopped either.

It is a delicate thing when someone is releasing hostile emotions in a public setting.  There is something decidedly primal about it.  Showing concern or empathy toward this individual could well be misconstrued.  Also if you are not certain of a person’s state it might well be best to call in authorities who can assist him.   And sometimes we just have to let someone scream and rant should they choose to do so.

I headed down to the beach and met up with the group.  For a good hour or so I crawled along the beach taking photographs.

And what a stunningly beautiful sunset it was!  This is a place that speaks to my heart on such an intimate level.  I’ve screamed tormented and frustrated here.  I’ve cried tears of shame, tears of loneliness and tears of heartache.  I’ve been spellbound by the beauty of this place more times that I could ever count and I have I felt a life force so strong and how it has run through me…

I thought about getting my toes wet but signs were up.

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“Do Not Swim”

We’ve had a few red tides this year.  Algae was blooming crimson a few months back.  Normally walking along the surf wouldn’t bother me even with the red tide in effect.  However, I am still toxic from the whole cancer thing so best err on the side of caution.

And as the sun kissed the day good-bye a beautiful moon was slipping into the sky.  And I just felt so fabulous, so blessed.

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The sunset at Sunset Beach, Vancouver, BC  – Sept 5, 2014

 

The last few mornings on the drive in to work the trees have had a mist hanging tight to them below a clear blue sky.  I was sitting at a red stop light thinking how dreamy and enchanting this world I was waking to looked.  Out came the phone and I tried to capture what I was seeing, what I was feeling.  The guy honking his horn behind made me realize I ought not to be doing this.  It was now a green light.  But I smiled a little foolishly and cranked up the tunes and sang the rest of the way to work.

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And I am pumped!

The thought process has been invigorated, challenged and invited to jump in there and get things done.

John, one of the owners, got back from a two week vacation this week. I brought him up to date on my observations and progress to date.

He smiled quite pleased.  “I wanted someone who would roll up their sleeves and get the job done and you are doing just that.  Thank you.”

That was an affirmation that he had hired the right person in my mind.  He was well aware that things were in a state of disarray.  No accountant for three months and those inputting the info with no knowledge of accounting principles?

I’ll say this. Shannon did a bang up job despite no knowledge of accounting.  She has the intelligence there, she just has to work on her confidence.

One thing I have learned is that I don’t hold on to places that had no real investment in me in the first place.  Yes, you may meet a few people with whom you develop friendships that extend past the workplace, but if an establishment doesn’t value me then it won’t work.  That has become a factor that is very important to me in the last few years.

I’ve written about the architectural firm I was at; of how I got shot down on every level.  Just hearing the word ‘thank you’ is so appreciated.

Far too many businesses just expect.  You are just a number there to perform…nothing more.  And I guess this is what pisses me off.  We are people.  We have feelings. We love, we hurt, we fear, we laugh, we cry…

And we spend the majority of our daily lives at the workplace.

I, for one, want to enjoy how I expend my grey matter.  I will say this, I’ve always honoured the job and I always will.

And as I wrap this evening… the one month anniversary of my start date at the new place, I’m feeling light and breezy.

I’ve been having insane dreams for the last few weeks.  I wrote about one a few days ago.  But man, I’ve been wondering if it has to do with all the intense feelings I’ve lent myself to over the last three months.

Hey, it’s been a ride.  I was given five weeks notice from my previous place of employment on the one year anniversary of having had my surgery for cancer.

Their timing was fucking impeccable.

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Checking out the moon

 

The range of emotions I reined in quickly.  Within three weeks I had secured the job I’m at now.  Still, the adjustment can be taxing. But I’m a trooper.  Always have been, always will be.

This is likely why dreamland has been off the charts as of late.  I won’t analyze the thing.  I’ll just move on and continue to grow.

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Last night, for me, this was the mooney shot!

 

Pleasant dreams and many blessings to all of you.

Never be afraid to challenge yourself and never feel incapable.

If there is something that you want to know, it is there and you will know it.  Someone else’s interpretation may well not fit your definition so don’t ever give up.

 

Find your authentic truth and let it grow.

Peace!

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Dreamland


 

I was taken back to a well known dreamscape last evening.  I’ve not visited this place in a very long time.  Upon waking I found myself trying to recall the original dream and the significance of this place.

I don’t know about you, but quite often the places I visit in the dream realm look nothing like the actual location.

For example, dreams that I’ve had about the home I grew up in has at times looked like a well guarded concrete fortress. At other times it had glass exterior walls and at other times upon entry it had no interior walls.  Space is often very much distorted in my dreamscapes as well.  There have been times when the bedroom I had as a girl became a cavernous thing with more twists and turns than you can possibly imagine.

I will share last evenings dream with you first so here is the setup.

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I decide to go for a walk.  I will be joining my daughter over in North Vancouver later in the day for a late lunch.

At the last moment I decide to go to a place I’ve not been in a good long while.  It is supposedly this hidden gem in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver though in my dream it looks nothing like the actual area.  I have provided a link at the end for images of the actual area because what I am about to describe to you shares no resemblance to it at all.

Welcome to my dream.  Let me show you around.

I haven’t gotten my toes wet in a while.  Here it is this glorious day and I decide to go to the little gem of a beach I found so many years before.  It is a perfect day outside. The sky is a deep and cloudless blue.  I park the car and begin to walk through a winding maze of shops.  This place has the look of a small fishing village and the feel of an artists’ community.  Quaint ramshackle structures line the streets and people are buzzing about.  Fishing nets are being mended, outdoor cafes are full, flower shops emit lovely fragrances into the air.  Artists have their wares on display while they diligently work among the masses.

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The smell of coffee and cinnamon teases the senses as well.  The place has a lazy feel to it.  Like you could just get lost here forever.  Ahead of me a bluff rises abruptly up out over the ocean.  The road will come to and end.  There is a park house at the mouth of it. Washroom facilities and the like are contained within the structure.  It is a city park that lays before me but it’s what’s on the other side of the bluff that is my mission this day.  I check the time.  I likely won’t be able to go all the way around.  Still I should be able to get down to the first tier. 

If you walk to the top of the bluff which isn’t that far you will find yourself some 200 feet up over the ocean.  The main beach is far below to my right and on a day like this it is packed with sun worshipers.   Now you can access the main beach from several different roads further down the way.  I am going to the beach that is a little more difficult to access.  To my left the rock face juts up sharply.  Not many people go beyond this.  Many years ago we chanced to see where this little nook that’s practically invisible went.  The first time I walked through this passage way I was terrified.  Would I suddenly find myself suspended several hundred feet above with no safety net?  Still, I’d been curious.  Sometimes you have to take that chance. 

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There is this narrow opening with a small passage that will take you through the bluff.  There are three tiers.  Today I’ll just go down to the first one.  I won’t have time to do them all but I promise myself to come back here soon and do them all.  It’s been far too long.  I walk carefully through this passage.  The lighting is dim and you must be careful as there is always some form of debris.  Also you must ensure no animals have taken refuge.  I have made it a point to sing when first I start.  Then I’ll stop and listen.  If nothing scurries about then I will continue.  For the first fifty feet or so I will move ahead relatively straight with a slight bend to the right.  Then it turns to the left there is a crook and then it straightens out again but now you are moving down hill.  This carries on for another twenty-five feet or so.  It is fairly dark in this part too.  Oh that first time, I remember my heart pounding so fast that I was certain it would break through the confines of my chest.  Then there is another sharp turn to the left.  And now you are moving in the direction that you just came from.  So it is a zigzag kind of thing.  Another twenty feet or so and then it levels off.   In truth while it is hard, going back as it is uphill it is much easier to navigate.  I am almost at the first tier opening.  I can hear the rush of water and smell the sea spray.  Slipping through the opening my breath catches as it always does.  I have exited onto a lush grassy knoll.  This grass feels like cashmere to the touch.  It is long and moves fluidly with the breeze.  Some fifty feet below me is the beach.  It is this magical cove.  Trees grow out of the rock face at impossible angles.  The sand on this beach is so fine and the view is spectacular!  Forest lines the outline and gives way to the ocean which goes on forever.  You can, from this vantage point, see the curvature of the earth on the water.  I close my eyes for a moment and just drink in the sweet air that surrounds me. 

I check the time.  I won’t have time to go down and play in the water. I must head back to go and meet my daughter.  I will have to bring her back here.  We’ve not come here in such a long while.  I see something swimming in the water then just before I head back into the passage way.  At first it almost resembles an alligator.  It is just a really big dog.  Sometimes the things you see here, well, they can morph into many things. 

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I come up through the passage quick enough.  A brief glance around then I head back to the car.  A moment later the dog runs past me and I laugh.  He stops for a moment and sniffs at a pile of clothing that is set beside bench.  The cloth moves and I see a baby lying there.  Surprised I walk over.  Beneath the bench are two more children.  The baby boy is likely about eight months old, the other boy is about a year and half and then there is a little girl maybe two and half years old.  They are dirty. 

“Hi there,” I say to the little girl. “Where are your parents?”

“They’re coming.” she responds defensively. 

I get them out and onto the bench then enquire again as to their whereabouts. 

From I’ve been able to ascertain is that the children were left here overnight as some form of disciplinary punishment.  This alarms me.  I call my daughter and tell her the situation so she agrees to come over and meet me.  I will call the authorities next.  I call the authorities and tell them the situation then wait. 

My daughter shows up and I go get some food for the kids.  Day is beginning to fade and I am becoming really upset that no one has come to take these children.  The little girl now goes missing.  We are trying to find her and then the baby boyes disappear too. 

I see them all be bundled into a vehicle and run after them.  It is the parents I discover and I am so angry with them.  They swear and curse at me then drive away and I write down their license plate.  The authorities finally show and I am really distraught at this point.  I give them the information and the assure me they will check it out. 

I will discover later that they feel there was simply a misunderstanding and the children are fine.  I am devastated by this as is my daughter. 

That portion of the dream ends and I find myself taken into a Mary Tyler Moore rerun where she’s having a sleep over with Rhoda and they are having issues as to where they should sleep.  From there the dream takes me to a home I’ve just purchased that is on top of a bluff…though I realize now it is a different bluff.  And the view, my God, it’s stunning!

And my last thought in sleep before I awaken is that I’ll have to take a photo of this view and post it on Facebook as it is quite extraordinary.

Upon waking I really tried to figure this one out.  I thought of the emotions that were stirred and I really ran the gamut.  What was prevalent in my thoughts, however, was the importance of this place in my subconscious.  I can close my eyes and tell you in detail the beauty and surprises of travelling to the other two tiers brought me.  It is that clear in my mind’s eye and yet this place doesn’t exist.

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How did I know I was in Kitsilano?  When I called my daughter and the authorities I told them I was at the gem in Kits by the park house.  And yet when I had moved into my new home on the bluff, it was not in Kits.  Yet I’ve been to this place many times in the realm of sleep as well.  Both have similarities but are vastly different in terms of a view.  They are exquisite.

Please feel free to share some of your more memorable dreams as well.   If you are not familiar with Vancouver, then click on the link below to get a feel for what Kits really looks like.  I’m sure you will agree it is very different than the landscape I described.

Enjoy your day.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=kitsilano&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=GWEDVKH7HIW5igLc4oHIDg&ved=0CEoQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=985

Affirmation


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This has been an eventful week at the new job. There was a degree of discord from one of the worker’s there who will be leaving as a result of me assuming all responsibilities.

I am a ‘lovely woman’ whom she see’s herself ‘divorcing’.

I was and am very sympathetic  to her sensibilities.  Still, this is business.  Nothing more.  She can work her ass off trying to prove whatever it is she is caught up in, but I know all too well the bosses’ really have no interest in her personal life.  You need to produce.  Simple as that.

That acceptance as made me very good at my job.  And yes, it has taken awhile to learn these lessons.  Not that I’m  a slow learner…just a very stubborn one at times.:

I hope that the vision I am developing for this company comes to fruition.  I’m all business.  This isn’t about what the company can and should do for me.

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I am the worker bee you see.  This is about saying ‘Lets try doing this and that.  We’ll be more efficient.  More productive.  Better overhead results in higher profits.’

It is quite simply, business.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  You must separate to some degree your personal self with your business self.

Because of my journey I actually have a deeper insight into this.

I left work and arriving home tucked my pages and computer into my backpack.  I decided to head off for dinner and do some editing.

Boston Pizza won the decision for where I would dine.

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As I entered the establishment I looked past the host who was intent on seating me.  My eyes were now trained on an old friend.  I was half engaged with the gentleman who wanted to seat me and the friend whom was in my sight.

Brian.

I’d traversed through the hallowed halls of school from Grade 1 to Grade 11 with him.  We’d put together the 30 year reunion together.  He lives with is wife just a meer block from my domain.

I waved my hand and he looked up then rose to greet and folded me in his arms.

Brian had a stroke three weeks ago. This shocked me.

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He smiled rather sardonically and sadly  stating ‘Aging sucks.’

I laughed and agreed. I told him of my issues.  Discussed the emotional head games these things play out.  Then informed him to commit to a few hours out with Marie and I.

The three of us put together the 30 year reunion.  What I can I tell you is that year of  piecing together out past cemented me to so many aspects of who I used to be.

And I needed that.

So if I see a friend who has suffered, know this.  All the positive energy I have is being directed to your well being.

There are people who so quietly touch your life.  Brian I would say is one of those people.

Yet, there is a profundity to it.

Phone Pics July 2014 069He matters. He has all the school pictures of us from Grade 1 to Grade 11. He sees just me, not the latest invention of who I thought I should be.  Brian has gone through his own hell.  And I guess that’s what we need to embrace and understand about our journey during this life.

Despite our successes and losses…at the end of day…we are all simply human.

And I will always try to offer the most sincere and honest response to someone’s situation.

To those I hold dear…know that it is doubled.

And if you cannot articulate what burdens you… I understand this so deeply. I will not speak for you.  Your voice, your emotions, your feelings are necessary.  All I can do is hopefully give them a face.  Give them voice. Give them life.

Long ago I accepted that my roll in this world is souly dependent upon the organic thought provided to me by simply living.

It sounds simplistic…but really its not.

I commit to this world to assist in bringing an honest and forgiving truth to how we live our lives.

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Fashionably Uncomfortable!


I attended a wedding last weekend.  Twelve hours passed from attending the ceremony until I gave into exhaustion and left the reception at approximately 11:45 PM.

I took some 350 photographs, dined on a fabulous feast and danced ’cause my feet just couldn’t stay still and thoroughly enjoyed the company of all!

In all honesty, I could have carried on for a few more hours but I happened to be wearing support hose.

I am of the mind now that whomever invented pantyhose had a serious hate on for women.  That was my feeling when I was dressing for the event and in the eleventh hour questioned my attire when a hot flash ensued.

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The deception of the advertising would have you think the jiggly bits will magically disappear!

Pantyhose and perspiration do not mix.

It was a formal affair so fashionably I had to suck it up and keep my jiggly bits restrained.

The final two block walk up the hill to my home on Saturday evening had me uttering a number of profanities regarding said support hose.  Within seconds of entering the house I was tearing the damn things from my person.

Then exhausted I crawled into bed and let sleep claim me.

On Sunday as I perused the photographs I thought of the friendships that have blessed my life.  Many of my close friends I have known for some 25 years if not more.

It was my friend’s son that married and I’ve known the family for about 26 years now or thereabouts.

Cathy and I have shared laughter and heartache over the years. I must say, it was those moments of heartache when the friendship was truly cemented.  The laughter and joy we’ve experienced is the pleasure derived from investing in a friendship.

As I looked through the photos I’d taken, many things moved through me. I’d watched this young man grow from child to man.  I smiled as the memory of Cathy and I loading up the van for a run to the dump with goods that were no longer of use.  A very tattered and torn Curious George was in amongst the ruins to be discarded that day.

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The boy’s devastation was more than apparent as he tried desperately to rescue this soiled and spent thing. A tantrum of epic proportions ensued and as we drove away he ran after the van sobbing ‘George! George! I want George!’

It did have a very comedic undertone to it. His mother truly tried to reason with him. Stubbornly he wouldn’t have it. I felt sad for him in that moment. We were taking a beloved friend, albeit inanimate, from the boy and I understood that.

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He grew into a teenage boy with a gleeful penchant for trouble. Even this delinquent charm of his had an innocent honesty to it. He was quite proud of the mischief he managed to create so much so that often he would boast about it.

In his graduation year he and his buds took some spray cans to the school and wrote several derogatory comments on the exterior. Marco signed his name to his remarks and yes, he got busted.

And while his friends made comments of the like in memory of these happenings and their wayward ways during the reception, all noted Marco had taken the energy and become something of an entrepreneur.

It was a pleasure to watch him take his vows with his longtime girlfriend who seemingly keeps him so balanced.

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And I again silently swore at having committed myself to wearing those damnable support hose.

The years have gone by in a pinch.  Where we once exercised like a banshees to keep the boobs, ass and tummy tight…now we look for a piece of elastic that will tuck everything into place.

I am back in the gym. I’ve got quite a bit of weight to take off. The cancer debacle has left me looking rather discombobulated.  I do know that even once I do take off the weight the boobs and ass are still going to be droopy. And I’m fine with that.

I read somewhere that there are lotions that you can apply that will tighten everything up for a special event. I think one was a fabricated snake venom that, like Botox, will freeze everything?

Oye!

I will stay with being fashionably uncomfortable and tucking myself into support hose and the like when the event and need requires the effort.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the pleasure of each day and the friends I share them with.

Peace.

 

 

A Blogger’s Life


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Okay, I am feeling decidedly playful tonight. I’ve been editing.  And I must say, despite the topic and issues raised in this work of mine, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve produced to date.

I’m polishing it up.  Taking those phrases when last I passed through this book of mine, which was a year ago, and defining them in a way that is more conducive to the meaning trying to be conveyed.

A year ago I had read through this work of mine approximately seven times or so.

And truth be told I didn’t want to look at it again.  For two years I’d worked on it and during that tenure, I had been living part of the book.

Emotions were at times volatile.  Behaviours were erupting in a tidal wave that I found myself swept up in with the only hope that when all settled, I would have survived and grown as a result.

Then on the heels of all these momentous changes came the health issues, shifting this life in yet another direction.

Really there was no other choice than to run with it.

Things have settled considerably now after some four years of some rather extreme challenges.

And now as I read back the words, let me tell you, I got it right this time.

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I have told  something so very personal that it exposes my vulnerabilities and fears to the world. I put out all my flaws and weakness’ without excuse .  I’m happy with the effort and result.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length, then you’ll know I want more than anything to become a respectable wordsmith.  To take this craft and be able to lend the words to such a favorable position that their meaning might well touch the reader in a manner that is positive and profound, that quite humbly is my only wish.

There is a blogger that I follow on this site with some 70,000 plus followers.  I loved his writings and his depth.

Now it seems every post is requesting finances from his followers for some crisis he seems to be having in his life.

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I’ve not reached such popularity, however, I have remained true to the purpose of this blog and shall remain as such.

I will never ask you to donate for my aging computer equipment,  nor I will never ask you fund my online subscriptions, for my health care, my rent, etc.

It has truly saddened me where he’s taken his blog.  This makes me wonder why we are all on this forum.

I, for one, read all the posts I’ve signed on to.  If I am moved to comment then I do.

Still, this morning, when I rose and checked my email and saw the blog from Christian stating ‘Help!” I knew he would again be asking for money.

I sighed wearily.  It’s just such a turn off.  Time to sign off.

For me this forum is where we can all come and express ourselves.  There is no expectation, and hopefully no judgment.

You either like it or you don’t.  It either speaks to you or it doesn’t.  This is a place where we can all share our thoughts and ideas.

But for fifty dollars, I could pay Christan to upload one of my posts!  After all he has some 70,000 plus followers.

Don’t we all wish for that?  And then I saw the posts being re-blogged as he said he would.

In some there was an odd desperation in these writers trying to gain exposure for their work.  Like me they probably don’t know shit about marketing.

He got lucky. What you have to understand in this world, is that sometimes people just get lucky.

There is an old saying that it’s 25% talent, 25% who you know and 50% luck.

I don’t know.  I’m not into statistics.

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I see this happen all too often though.  Someone becomes popular in their writing or delivery of words, written or oral.

And the price goes up.

Think of these so called prolific wisdom gurus such as Tony Robbins and the like.  Hell, the fees attached to their seminars are exorbitant.

If you’ve attended any of their seminars, what have you learned?

I can tell you now, they will not disclose any information to you that you’re not already in possession of.  What they’ve become masters at is unveiling such information in a manner that seems new and invigorating.

And I feel like that with a many of bloggers whom I’ve followed.

Then you have the ones that seem to be buying into their own ‘greatness’ after all, how could 70,000 plus followers be wrong?

And admittedly for a time, this confused me. I blogged about it.  Why were the words and thoughts I was expressing not being acknowledged by WordPress?  Why had I never been ‘Freshly Pressed’?

Then it came to me.  I am here only to practice the craft I love.  I will never ask for any compensation other than you like what you’ve read.

It’s just that simple.  I have no agenda to separate you from your hard earned cash.

If, what I’ve written, brings an emotional connection to you in any way, then I’ve done my job.

It’s just that simple.

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If we cannot share our words and expressions with honesty, then what?

Last evening, as I have done for the last six years, I boarded the Britannia here in Vancouver as a staff volunteer to kick off a cruise for the Pride weekend in Vancouver.

I have many friends who are gay, and you know, I learned a long time ago to judge people by what was in their heart.

So if I can assist my friends’ and make this celebration that much more exceptional, then I will.

I took my camera and snapped some 300 photographs on the cruise last night.

I spent another three hours today reviewing and correcting any inconsistencies then uploading onto my friends Facebook page, along with mine.

And as I did this, I felt blessed for the people I have in my life and even more so that I can write the things that I do.

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I\

For Art’s Sake


 

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I’ve been out for the majority of this day. It’s been a good one, a rich one.

The plan had originally been to head out to Deep Cove and hike up Quarry Rock then grab a nibble.  A late night and the uncertainty of the weather had my daughter and I going for breakfast in Deep Cove and later exploring Cates Park.

Now that I am working over in the area its time to reacquaint myself with my surroundings.

It really is beautiful.

Later we went back to my daughter’s home and had some tea.  I then left to meet up with some friends to take in Douglas Coupland’s exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

This, quite frankly, was one the best exhibits I’ve seen a good long while. It pounced and stung quickly.

A table containing a chewed up plastic container with rusted out aerosol cans and the like inserted into the slots greeted us. The table base of styrofoam and plastic was rigged with wires….

An explosive thought, yes?  This was going to be good!

Photographing the pieces was highly encouraged. Lego structures were featured quite prominently. Then I began to think about what these plastic pieces were made from.

Can you destroy a Lego piece? I’m really not too sure.

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Images and structures continued to assault and intrigue the senses. Each section of the exhibit was deliberate in its intent. One display held one hundred housing constructs made from Lego. All were identical in their suburban design. This was the dream sold to the masses after World War II.

Everyone would have the home with the white picket fence, a car in the drive, two and a half children, with two weeks vacation every year.

It was the ideal that was sold to a war weary world and we bought it.

Consumerism was born in a big way.

Now you had to have the automatic washer and dryer, then the colour TV. Of course, TV dinners came into play and my God, the things that decorated our homes!

Plastic fruit in garish bowls adorned our coffee tables. Velvet Elvis’ hung on the wall while red shag carpeting covered our floors.

Polyester clothing became the rage.

And do you know the one thing these all have in common? Oil.

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They have an oil based compound in their makeup. All plastics do.

We came into a room that housed a miniature town of nuclear reactors, an automotive assembly plant, electrical grids galore and cameras everywhere.

I leaned in to study the intricacies of this designed piece. One of the cameras moved to watch me and so now curious I moved to my left.

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It followed me.

I moved to my right and yes, it followed me. I repeated this several times with the same result.

I stepped back then repeated my movements. Nothing.

So they had set it up with a sensor. Brilliant!

Big brother is watching. Always…should you happen to get to close.

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The next room screamed at me.

“I miss my pre-internet Brain”

The walls were filled with identically sized canvases of various colours with phrases on them such as the one above. And perhaps because I’ve started a new job where I am stepping back in time in terms of technology and using a DOS based progam, there is a certain appreciation and reflection of how far we travelled on this technological yellow brick road.

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And like those erstwhile characters who travelled to Oz, will we find that we had everything we wanted but were just to sidetracked or blind to see it?

We stepped into the next room and I felt the swell of emotion hit me. In the center of the room stood two structures designed to replicate the twin towers in New York. The walls were covered with geometric dotted art pieces.

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They didn’t look like much visually. It wasn’t until you raised your camera phone that the image came through.

And tears stung my eyes.

The dots were the people jumping from the twin towers on that fateful day. One was of Bin Laden.

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I stood for a moment contemplating the obscurity of these images.

Do you know how much our world changed that day? It changed dramatically and irrevocably for the worst. Fear championed that day. We were collectively horrified at the darkness humanity had fallen to.

And for no other reason other than it is intrinsically instilled in our DNA, we laid the blame on one man.

Bin Laden, who would live out his days in the caves of Afghanistan. He’d surface from time to time uttering the all too common phrase ‘Death to America.’

And this was the face of evil personified.

The final room of the exhibit held a plethora of items, all made from plastics and other manufactured textures.

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Several oil cans were bunched together surrounded by toys that had been produced with said product and with the intent of being inconspicuous was the plastic model of a duck drowned in oil.

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This was tucked at the base and could have been easily missed. Perhaps that was the point as all too often in this life we turn the other cheek so to speak. Easy to adopt the out of sight, out of mind kind of crap.

We then went upstairs and checked out the other features that were being displayed.

Some of the pieces are interactive art. And I really like these pieces. One that has been up for awhile shows a red curtain. A few moments later an older woman, rather dowdy in appearance, rather bookish as it were steps through the curtains. She is wearing a shapeless deep blue suit with sensible black shoes.

She stands with hands folded in front of her. A nervous smile plays upon her lips.

I’ve seen this before and I know what this piece intends.

So I stood next to my friend and watched.

She was feeling anxious, a tightness in her chest. This would shift subtly to exasperation. Then the sense of being a little annoyed would wash over her.

About seven minutes in the woman is shifting a bit….though it is very subtle.

I asked my friend. “Do you feel fatigued? Tired and heavy?”

She did.

“Does the woman appear tired and exhausted from standing before an audience?”

My friend nodded.

Then the woman turns and disappears behind the curtain.

Not a word is spoken…yet the emotional kaleidoscope provoked is intriguing.

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What do you see in this image?

Douglas Coupland is an author as well, best known for penning “Generation X”.

There was a portion that totally intrigued.

He took the pages from his book and chewed them into pulp. He then shaped them into hornet nests. He also had real hornet nests in attendance (minus the hornets) to provide an honest comparison.

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The challenge in this piece was the longevity of the written word.

Art should make you think. It should inspire on some level.

They had a feature upstairs that displayed landscapes, portraiture and the like. What could possibly be interesting about portraiture, you ask?

I like to try and divine the expression that’s been captured. That is the intrigue for me in this form.

Landscapes can be dramatic or just plain.

Again, art is very subjective. We are not going to like all of what we see.

It is those moments when the pieces scream at us and yes, we get it. That is what I look for, that is what I live for.

When someone’s work speaks so eloquently to me, then the artist has done their job.

And I leave myself open daily. Each day I exist has an altruistic element to me.
And this is what Douglas Coupland had to say regarding this exhibit and I quote.

“I look back at myself two decades ago, and I think of how different me and my brain were back then…and how differently I looked at the world and how I communicated with others. The essential ‘me’ is still here…it just relates to the universe much differently. What will the world look like when anywhere becomes everywhere becomes everything becomes anything? We’re almost there.”

Douglas Coupland

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My friends and I later went for a nibble and discussed some fascinating topics. We spoke of the tragedies of this world, of its beauty and our responsibility to it.

In that context I have only myself to hold to account in how I interact with the world that has been provided to me and that, like a blank canvas, is up to me to give back.

It struck me today this odd sense of entitlement we have. These gadgets we’ve been told that will make out lives unspeakably happy.

The house that once looked like a million others, has now escalated to a family room (aka great room?), a living room, a kitchen, an eating area, a formal dining room, master bedroom with full ensuite (shower, soaker tub or Jacuzzi, double sinks and a walk-in closet). Then of course all the other bedrooms should have a bathroom. Balconies and BBQ pits and hey, you really should have an in home theatre. A bliss room is good along with an in-house gym as long as you’re in it for the long haul.

When did this become normal?

Do you know the ecological footprint you’re leaving in wanting and having all this?

And what is the point?

Are you above me because you’ve managed to assemble these accruements into your life?

It takes a lot of energy to produce this and a great deal more to maintain it.

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And personally I want to focus more on sending out the love that I feel so blessed to have in my life back out into this world.

Things won’t make me special or important. Just living with a grateful and forgiving heart will, and in my mind, give back to this world that has offered so much.

If there is a secret to this life, I haven’t a clue. I’ll just venture down this avenue and seriously enjoy all that’s been afforded to me.

Douglas Coupland’s exhibit gave me serious cause to pause and really look at how I can improve my interactions with our organic world.  After all, I am an organic being.  We all are.

If you live in Vancouver or have access to the VAG I would strongly suggest you check out this exhibit. It is my understanding that this show will be moving to Montreal at the end of September.

Any feedback you have is always welcome and thanks for checking out this post.

Namaste.

What Are Your Measurements?


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July is now August. How did that happen?
Well, we humans like to measure things, don’t we?
We measure time, success, space, circumference, failure, our waistline…
And then we record it all, of course, for good measure.
After all we must navigate through the laws of averages, now mustn’t we?
I was at a poetry reading last evening. One poem that keeps giving me pause to consider was called ‘Indian Time.’
It referred to the measure of time as being slower in the context of how it was perceived by our aboriginal folk.

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I loved the whimsy of the poem and the earthy texture to it.
Yes, I was measuring the words and how they cradled me.
Some were presented like a lullaby that soothed, while others triggered a restless energy that provoked, and other still left me wondering ‘What if?”
I’ve much to learn in the vocal delivery of these things I set to paper.
We were given just three minutes, a small measure of time to be sure, in which to relay our prose.
I am very new to this.
Two poems I opted to deliver. Every other person on open mic presented just one.
In my mind I had two short poems and I could do it!
And on the second poem I felt the pressure begin to build. The flush of nervous energy began to take hold and I felt a slight tremble begin.
With my last word spoken I timed out at 3:14.
I recognized my own folly in that moment though.
Then I though back to the ‘Indian Time’ poem.
I am still trying, at a frenetic pace, to fill time, to make the most of what I’ve been afforded.

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I have just finished working twelve hours. I was at the new job then hopped over to the engineer’s office.
It would seem I am trying to catch-up these days.
And I was hungry. Decidedly I popped into a local eatery as I considered it just a little too late to be cooking.
And as always I have a pen and page at the ready to spill any erstwhile thoughts.
I like to be engaged in every sense. What I am attempting now is to have some ‘remote’ time, some ‘me’ time, some ‘down’ time.
Balance?
Yet, as we decided, oh, since the dawn of time, there are but twenty-four hours in a each day. This really doesn’t change and is based upon a fraction of how long it takes our beautiful world to revolve around the Sun, which of course necessitates our understanding of light and dark, of summer and winter and all points in between.
Time doesn’t speed up, nor does it slow down.
We have this affliction, I know I do, in that I am in some odd kind of race with time. And as my life span enters what is perceived as being the latter portion of the average that has been so carefully calculated of how long I should expect to be here, now an urgency permeates all that I do and absorb.

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Why?
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. I do believe I need to learn how to manage my impulses a little bit better.
I should not be so intent on filling every moment with what, I’m too sure.
This explosion and eruption of self, this awareness and connection to all that surrounds and encompasses me and the desire, so strong, to emanate all that I feel, think and imagine to the world that envelopes me.
And just as I spilt the words, with nervous energy threatening to consume me, at the poetry reading last night, so do I try to experience all that this life has to offer and to give back.
I am, I know, but a speck in this universe. An energy form so small that I could think I’m insignificant. But each and every particle that makes up this spectrum we call space and time matters in some form.
And I guess in this odd little head of mine, it is our choices that it all comes down to.
Everything has an opposite as we all know…and then there is a rainbow of possibilities between these choices.
And maybe it is trying to find that balance, if it does indeed exist.
Perhaps it is the rapture that we feel at certain times in our life experience. Those makers that make us beg for more, that make us measure our wants, our needs and our desires, then try to capture and immortalize them.
And here we are, small particles in this universe that continually collide and expand, we experience friction. And such a terrible darkness runs through all of humanity, it always has.

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For as creative as we are in love, we are equally so in hate.
Now you need to make a choice. Which will you surrender to?
Will you die for love or live to hate?
And it is the play of words, their insistence upon my lips that I always challenge and find myself searching…exploring.
I just want to remain open and learn…absorb.
A new job has filled me with excitement. The intellect has once again been engaged and tickled. Perhaps this time it will be nurtured to its fullest potential.
And if you measure a person’s intellect by the credentials bestowed, perhaps this is a re-think.

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Knowledge is free.
While we’ve been sold the idea of a formal education as being the door to all that is, know that it surrounds you always.
Yours for the taking.
And so I surrender to my love of words and the visual arts. May my curiosity and love continue to grow and expand.
Time is never wasted, just the perception of it.
Peace.

The World Sheds a Tear for a Very Funny Man…Goodbye Robin


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The first time I saw him I was about 19 years of age. I was watching ‘Happy Days’.

Ritchie Cunningham had, what he thought was a really wacked out dream about an alien.

It wasn’t an alien. It was Robin Williams (a.k.a. Mork).

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At times I felt exhausted after watching him perform. His comedic genius sometimes bordered on something that was almost tragically desperate.

I’ve watched pretty much everything he’s put out. I’ve spent time in front of the computer screen watching You Tube videos of his performances gone by.

Sometimes Robin would just continue to wind up. The pace frenetic, he’d be drinking water with a ferocity while the sweat streamed down his body. Then he’d dance on that edge and I would wonder if he was going to snap.

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Over the years, like many, I heard of his struggles with depression and addiction. The two have a way of going hand over fist, don’t they?

It is heartbreaking that Robin could never defeat the demons that plagued him or minimize them enough to afford a truly happy and peaceful life.

I am very familiar with depression having dealt with it for the majority of my life, however, for me it has become manageable. Still, there are so many degrees and variations of this insipid illness.

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If you have depression then you likely know the key is to learning to live with it. And that you see is the toughest part of this illness.

There was a time when I really didn’t want to accept it. In a way I was trying to cut that part of me out, destroy it. Indeed, my entire person suffered as a result.

In the last five years, despite the other health issues that I’ve faced, I can say with all honesty that I have been the most content and happy that I’ve ever been.

And if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, then you’ll know I’ve done a great deal of soul searching. It is a daily thing, a mantra and acknowledgement of what I want in my life and who I want to be and what I don’t. Sometimes I’m really successful, at other times not so much, but more often than not I usually find a delicate balance between the two.

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And this I can live with.

Robin lived in extremes. Extreme highs and extreme lows and I think that is the toughest type of depression to try and manage. I can’t imagine his pain and torment.

One thing I would like to bring to attention to is that in our health care system quite often the treatments that are available for mental health issues tend to have a very narrow vein in order to be covered by MSP. If you don’t have extended health benefits through your place of employment then it will come out of your pocket.

This needs to change.

Far too many people are waiting until they are in critical need before seeking the assistance that they need.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. We need to change how we do business and we really need to change how we treat each other.

A little more kindness and a lot more love.

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Many blessings to Robin William’s family and I hope that Robin has found some measure of peace.  Nanoo!  Nanoo!

Namaste.

Thinking in DOS


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I started my new job this week. Three days in and I’m having to take my knowledge of computer programs back some 15-20 years.

Back in 1994 I took a year long accounting program. We learned ACCPAC and BEDFORD which, at the time were DOS based accounting programs.

Basically you enter a series of information that will result in various reports. The thing with a DOS based program is that you have to enter all the information correctly and usually repetitively in order to garner said result. You are, in fact programming the result.

I also took a course in BASIC which was programming computer speak at that time. I think it’s still around.

With a Windows operating system, everything has been formatted. You have an empty template that is structured and ready for you to just feed it the information.

Some people responded rather surprised that I took a job that is still using a DOS based system.

They will be transferring over to a new custom made platform on November 1, 2014.

I will admit to being a little intimidated when I first started. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in a program such as this.  Still, the challenge was too good to pass up.

Happily, its coming back. And you know, it made me recall when we were switching from a DOS based program to a WINDOWS based program. I can recall being terrified. I couldn’t find anything and well, I had to change how I thought about computing.

Strangely enough, DOS for me is a visual program. I have to think and visualize everything I want to do in order to dredge up the commands.

A WINDOWS based program already has the template in place so it is simply a question of plugging in the information correctly.  In other words, you need to understand the application and product that you’re working with.

Oh, there are errors and such.  They’ve not had an accountant for about four months or so and the good people who have stepped in to assist don’t understand bookkeeping so they are simply doing what they’ve been asked to do without understanding the purpose of it.

But that’s cool.  They have done their best and that’s what counts.  At least to me.

I felt a sense of relief coupled with determination once the program knowledge began to come back to me.  I understand accounting.  I know how to apply it.  This is simply a question of learning the application tool I’ve been provided with.

I love a challenge to boot!

My new boss, John, came up to me today.  I was puzzling through something in my head.  He thought it was a cry for help.  This made me smile.

It also gave me insight into the man.  He takes note of his staff and what they are working on.  Oh, I will have the bank reconciliations completed and get things organized very quickly.  Things are not THAT much of a mess.

As I drove home tonight I felt so totally in my element.  I’ve got a rather systematic way of thinking at times that compliments my organizational skills.

They hired me to organize and detail certain functions….well, yes, they shall have it, and then some!

For the moment I will parrot how things are done then make suggestions for efficiency.  The people there are very nice.  I like them. If I can make everyone’s job run a bit smoother, then I will.

And I love my hours!  I start at 7:30 AM and finish up at 4:00 PM.  How sweet is that?

The other aspect to this is the opportunity to step back and really appreciate technology on a whole different level.  When I was first introduced to the world of computers it was a quite intimidating.  I didn’t have a clue about much of the stuff but as per usual, I faked it.

In time though, the technology grew on me.  I learn a little differently as well and how I filter in knowledge is just as odd. This is the opportunity to go back and just see how far we’ve come so fast.

To appreciate the wealth of knowledge that’s been bestowed upon me and my good fortune that I’ve been able to utilize the skills as a result.

Good stuff!

I would love to hear where some of you started off in this field of computing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Namaste!

 

In Search Of….


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I just finished a piece for Caitlin Press Inc. for an anthology that they are putting together of women travelling alone and what the experience was like.   My submission is regarding an impromptu trip to California circa 1976 that I took.

A young man named John assisted me in a big way back in the day.  After my return to Vancouver we wrote to each for a few years.  Then we lost touch.

Some 38 years have passed since that time.  The photo I am sharing shows me with John, who is standing next to me and two of his friends. 

I can’t recall his last name, however, he was a fabulous artist on his way to university. His dad was a movie producer and they lived in the Hollywood Hills.  

I would love to touch base with John again.  Just to tell him how much I appreciate all he did for me at that time.  Of the some eight million that lived in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, I managed to find an angel. 

If you know John, please pass this along to him.  Thanks.