Off to Whistler


Made a headlong dash for Whistler this weekend.  Going to Whistler before the Games was something I “had to do”, but when the time came, I had a lot of resistance and put it off and put it off.  Oh well, we made it out, feeling unprepared and leaving too late, but as long as it gets done.

After an eight hour drive shared with my friend on thankfully bare roads in the passes, a fantastic meal in Van that included seafood and Bailey’s ice cream, and a sleepover on a king sized bed, I was off for Whistler solo.

I’m so glad for Stanley Park.  It really is a jewel in the city, and somehow that abundant lushness dampens the buzzing of frantic city energy, if just for the moments of passing through it.  Even the token postage stamp of a forest that it is still puts the rat race in perspective, as the canopy dwarfs the traffic and the bucked up windfall on the side of the road reminds of the strength of natural forces.  Then you roll out of that reprieve onto the threshold of Lion’s Gate bridge, rather a beautiful sample of engineering.

The Sea to Sky is finished now.  There’s a little bit of falling rock remediation happening still, but the new highway is a far cry from the last time I drove it- in white knuckled terror trying to keep the speed of traffic in an endless narrow lane on a wildly curving road all construction zone with high-hoes swinging over traffic and equipment perched on the edges of cliffs and rocks with only the Pacific behind them. Continue reading Off to Whistler

Sunshine!

What a difference the sun makes!

It’s been so long since we’ve had a sunny day it feels like a whole different season.  For the first time, I can feel my new 20-20 vision.

I also just went skating, and now I can hardly walk.  My legs are all wimbly.  First time this year; first time in a looong time.  Sure seems like more than a year since I got into my sk8s.  I think I was hurt last winter.

Shift.

It seems like it’s been raining for ten days straight, but today, there’s a splash of sun on the mountains lightly sugared with snow.  I couldn’t for the life of me get a decent shot, even after climbing on the roof.  There’re power lines everywhere.  It’s been so gray for so long.  I’m grateful to be so busy.

It’s getting cold at night and I’m not sure how long camper life will last.  The colder it is, the more condensation occurs inside, and I’ve not yet learned what it will take to correct that.  Besides the dripping windows in the morning, I can take it much colder but can Kevin?  So far so good. I’m addicted to the bed-preheating electric blanket, which makes every bedtime audible-sigh-worthy, and she sinks into the duvet in the V of my legs and purrs herself to sleep.  Very very happy times.

Getting a little excited about having a farm to live on.  Loosely planning for veggies and trees and berries- more things to research than anything else.

A small but valuable accomplishment: beginning.

Having an odd sense of non-emotion now around the potential purchase of property.  It’s not at the top of my mind, hardly a priority in my day, yet the process is sailing along ever more smoothly.  It looks like it’s going ahead, and we’ll be on the new 5 acres of digs in a month, with a horse.  Every so often I think, oh yeah, in no time I’ll probably be on some land and life will look completely different.  I’m sure I’ll be bursting with excitement as soon as I pull the camper into the barn, and start cleaning brush and designing gardens, lists flying everywhere, but until then, other things dominate my head.

Like writing!  Praise be, we’re writing.  My friend and I are both working on big projects that have stayed more in the realm of vision than reality for far too long.  Now together, we’re making them real.  We have a writing date, and both of us sit down and click and stare sternly at our pages, pausing over word choices and spelling.  The half hour we promise to do turns into an hour and half every time.

I’m familiar with the way that an idea is perfect and glowing, bursting with energy and perfection, but then you sit at the keyboard filled with intention, and the words don’t come out in nice sentences with the pop you imagined.  Three hours later you look up hungry, thinking you still have to finish it up, rewrite the beginning, and edit the whole thing, let alone format and post it.  I know that song.  That’s just what it takes to make something real instead of a fantasy.

As I plunge into the hitchhiking book it feels like I knew it would take time, but now I know how much.  The table of contents that flowed out of me on a break between rides on my last trip is a blessing.  It gives a structure and creates a list of topics.  Every day I’m tackling one little category and writing about it.  I’m sure every word will change in the edits that will be required, but right now I’m getting the ideas out in words.  It’s terrible, artless writing, but it’s out there now, and after all of it is “out” will come the stage of editing to make all those pieces readable and entertaining.  Then will come the stage of editing that will give it form and cohesion.  It’s a hell of a lot of work, and I “knew” that before, but now I KNOW.  And it’s underway, which is spectacular.  A small but valuable accomplishment: beginning.

Truck truck truck

See how it glistens in the rain...that incessant rain we've been having

Overwhelmingly  in love with my truck!  It’s full of fun gadgetry- took ages for the previous owner to explain them all to me, with their odd symbols.  Fog lights, robotic collapsing side mirrors, heated seats, adjustable shocks, altimeter, compass, digi interior/exterior thermometer, giant sun/moon roof, auto temperature settings, floor storage, headlight washers, and an emergency flare.  Diesel of course, so I can put bio in it.  The stereo is so sophisticated I couldn’t figure out how to change the radio channel, and it can bluetooth my phone for handsfree chatting- not a headset, but the kind that will make passing drivers think you’re a crazy person talking to yourself.  I couldn’t get that hooked up yet either though, even with the help of an 11yr old- the one I have to ask when I need help with MY camera.

But most of all, it’s sexxxxy!  I can’t even explain why, but I think it’s gorgeous and pretty and hot!  As my friend said right away: “OMG, I want to climb on top of it!” I’m instantly over envying anyone’s Rav4s and Toyotas and flashy hybrids, that cost 8x as much.  Well, I still envy Smart cars, but you can’t tow a camper with those. Continue reading Truck truck truck

Reindeer

The hatch-battening days have struck.  Today was not cool by numbers, but had that piercing quality that makes you wish you were wearing a warmer hat, and mentally assess your coat and scarf and mitten collection.  Will it be enough?  The days that soberingly remind you that winter is cold, and reminds you what that feels like.

Inspired by the possibility of earning a little money at Xmas craft fairs, today the kids and I opened Santa’s workshop and made some prototype reindeer.  First we filled the back of my sexy new truck with branches and dragged them home, importing that wonderful wood and snow smell of Christmas.  It went incredibly well.  The green wood was really easy to cut and drill, and the process was creative, flexible, and rewarding, rarely frustrating.  The oldest boy amazed me by pumping out three different sizes.  The smallest one is only an inch and a half tall.  The “head twig” was too tiny for him to drill for antlers.  We’ll see how large a team, or herd, we can create tomorrow.  This should be good.

Its almost like they hatch- they just come together as though they were meant to, and then they emerge- full of personality and mocking their intended design, if you started out with one.

Kelowna's good side

A beautiful view in the morning after an awesome night.  Spent the night on my friend’s guest futon and had a very “cozy in my heart” night talking at high speed with much laughing about everything!   It was really lovely to “re-find” a friend from long ago that I can feel still connected to (Thank you, T**, for your spontaneous welcome- hearts!).

Kelowna

Nothing can make a person “love money more than things” quicker than strolling a Kelowna mall.  Feel completely sickened and repulsed by the superfluous junk, all brightly lit, packaged, and bedazzled with a horrendous ignorant excess.  And this is normal.  Wait for the loud and masochistic orgy of Christmas splurging, as so many people spend lavishly and painfully beyond their means in a well-intentioned corruption of love.

Kelowna isn’t designed for the foot traveller.  All the stores and businesses are large, spread apart, and serviced by gigantic parking lots, all built for a culture of drivers.  The entire city’s design assumes that everyone has a vehicle to go from store to store in.  It’s always been a horrendous town to hitchhike through, but have I ever put a lot of miles on my feet this time. I feel like an anomaly, unusual because I’m on foot.  In places, there aren’t even sidewalks.  Plus people aren’t looking for pedestrians, and since I’m big on jaywalking, I have to be careful.  Ironically, I’m here to become a driver.  I haven’t owned a car in a while, and I’m here to pick up my dream truck, not without a few palpitations and some second guessing.

I hitchhiked here this morning.  Quote of the day, on the way: “The last chick I picked up hitchhiking smelled really bad.  I really can’t say the same about you….   ….why are you laughing so hard?”

Things are moving so fast!

Farming may be closer than I thought.  Out of the blue, as ever, my friend calls me to come inspect a house for her she’s thinking of buying.  5 acres, 5 outbuildings, and a house with a brand new well, roof, and water pump.  I wasn’t thinking of myself at all when I first looked at it, but a few days later the ways which the property could suit us both emerged, and suddenly we were talking about a partnership- a two year plan to be negotiated after that.  So possibly, I’ll be on rural land by December 1!  The working plan is that I will winter in the camper, parked in a shed equipped with hydro, and for the next couple years spend my time writing, creating a suite in the large, empty barn, and gardening and tending animals, all free of the burden of monthly payments.  Very exciting!

Hilarity ensues

One night they’re learning to start fires with flint, the next they’re shooting stop-motion karate sequences and Zoolander spoofs.  The kids asked tonight, in passing, if my Mac could make videos, and the evening turned into an hours-long marathon date with Photo Booth.  They enthusiastically uploaded their efforts to youTube, which tells the story best.  This is the best one. I was behind the scenes, starting and stopping and turning the music on and off.  Oh, and doing the blood.  I provided NO other direction.  The most demanding part of my job was to not laugh audibly, so I spent 100s of filming minutes with one hand clamped over a splitting grin, shaking with laughter.  Cleverly, they made the soundtrack with one earphone of a Shuffle rested by the mike of my computer, but it meant they could hardly hear the sound.  Again, boggled at the wild creativity of children, how well they cooperate and improv, and how transparently they filter their influences: hiphop videos, action movies, and Ben Stiller.  Apologies to the eight people out there who haven’t seen Zoolander- the finale will completely escape you- well, so might the whole thing.

Safe travels

Made it home just fine on Thursday.

Marriage proposals: three.  Offers of money for sex: one.  A successful trip.

Big news of the journey was that the urge to write “The hitchhiking book” surged up in me again along the way, this time in a motivated, urgent, desireful way, instead of an “I need to do that someday” way.  I even had to stop between rides to type for an hour, I was so filled with urgency to start.

Another sigh of grateful relief for having sold the house- I can write it now.  I have the time to do it.  There’s a few garden-variety resistances-fear of failure/success/putting in the work, but I know how to deal with those and still get the job done.  And all I need to do for a refreshing dose of motivation is to get back on the road and hitch somewhere.

Cows and town

Eye is recovering nicely now.  I’m not self-conscious any more with one eye swollen and weeping like I’ve been crying with half my face for a month.

I’m having fun riding the C-train around with trivial destinations and seeing what I find.  I’ve spent a generous amount of time in one cozily disheveled discount movie theatre, watching $3 movies, auditing portions of flicks I didn’t pay for, and getting free popcorn refills.  Although it must cost more overall to live in a major centre, it’s remarkable how cheap so many things are.  I’m giddy about two purchases:  Continue reading Cows and town