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Welcome to my notebook…

by Jan

This is where I practice scribbling my thoughts, post photos, and allow rambling insights.  Thanks for the visit. Please, feel free to add a comment or in join a discussion. Say what you mean, mean what you say, just one rule: Don’t say it mean!

PS. For more stories and past personal insights, visit JanParkerArts and read from my notebook.


by Jan

So much has been happening and all the while I’ve been letting it.

Here are a few highlights and catch ups.

Ken went to bow and arrow camp for a week. He had a ball and came home with a beaut of a bow and a dozen arrows. We set up a cardboard target in the back yard and have been shooting. It is almost as fun as shooting golfs!

Moser and Marian came to visit while Ken was away. It was nice and they helped keep me somewhat sane, as I don’t live alone well.

I’ve been sewing. The “quilt as you go” technique I learned from Marsha and You Tube is a fun way to use up fabric! I like the process.

I ask that no one look to close at the stitching though. While my quilts have always been far from perfect, and I know a “poor workman blames their tools,” — one reason the stitching isn’t so great right now, and it is hard to accept, is the sewing machine I inherited from mom is getting old. It has a few hours on it now and has cranked out well over 40 quilts. (not all mine, mom was a quilter too) It’s been tuned up several times and yet… even though it was the Cadillac of machines back in the day, it is now just an old work horse. I am beginning to think it may need replacing soon. The horror!

The biggest thing on my mind right now are all the changes going on in New Mexico for my brother Art.

He sold the house we all grew up in and the movers come tomorrow. The deal closes on the 18th and an era will end.

The house at 90 Manhattan Loop will no longer be the Hudson house. Some of the best times and  also, a lot of the worst times in my life were spent in that house. A thousand memories are held in those walls. My mind goes there often enough and I wonder where it will go now when someone I don’t know moves in.

I’m proud of Art. He did well. I know he drove the realtor crazy with his stubbornness, but he got what he wanted, and did what he needed. He’s now beginning a new and hopefully easier life, in a place he will be happier.

I do wish I could snap my fingers though, and be in Dodge right now. I’d like to sit on the roof one last time and smoke a cigar and toast a final farewell.

A Hudson has lived in the house since 1955, and depending when you peeked into the window, there were good times and horrid.

I moved out a long time ago and still, I’m very emotional just thinking about Art closing the door and maybe even locking it for the very first time, as he steps out and into a new adventure.



by Jan

I last saw Debbie Romero at our 40th high school reunion in 2013.

She was a bright star in our class. I met her at girl scout camp. She played the flute. We were friends, and she was smart – Debbie was so smart.

After we graduated from LAHS, Debbie got a scholarship to Smith College. That pretty well tells you just how incredible smart she was. At the reunion she told me she was a lawyer on the board of directors of Smith.

I lived in Amherst and worked as a janitor at UMass the first year Debbie attended Smith. We got together a few times. She showed me around the school.What I remember most, was her telling me of a woman who left an apple legacy for the students at Smith. What that meant was every student was to get an apple a day if they attended the school.

For me — that was the coolest legacy. What a fine thing to leave for others.

I heard the news of Debbie’s death yesterday. Fucking cancer.

I didn’t realize it until yesterday, but I still think of Debbie and that legacy when I eat apples, and I eat them most days.

I’m glad I knew you Debbie. Salute.


by Jan

I moved to the small town of Grove, Oklahoma in 1977. I was married to a man named George at the time. We had just moved from the DC area where George was a Captain in the Army.

I can say — my life was different from how it is now. Really, really different.

The best part of this move, was my good fortune of needing to go to the local laundry mat.

I was loading up the machine, and noticed woman my age, wrapping up her weekly laundry chore. She started the conversation.

“Are you new here?”
“Yup, just moved in a couple of days ago.”
“Do you have kids?”
“Do you smoke pot?”
“My name is Sandie.”
“I”m Jan.”
“What would you had said if I had answered differently?”
“I would have just left – I have too many friends with children and not enough that get high, why don’t you come by sometime.”

She folded her laundry and left.

I finished up my laundry and drove to her house.

We’ve been best friends for 40 years now.

I’m a lucky girl!


by Jan

My best girlfriend and her husband are here for a visit.
What that means is… the house is full of extra love and laughter now.

I’ll post a story another day.


by Jan

If you are on our Christmas gift list — the chances are pretty good you’ve received a Sunshine Coast calendar. Becky Wayte is the photographer, and I’ve been a fan of her work since I first saw her work on Facebook.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to follow her around in a day, not in a stalky weirdo way, but in a super curious, watch her work, and could I keep up with her way.

It seems to me, that she is up taking a photo of the sunrise most mornings, then throughout the day she will post a photo of a bear, bird, flower, or tree from some hike she is on. And before calling it a night, there will be an incredible photo of the sunset posted. (Plus, I know she also has a job at the college here!)

If you are on Facebook – follow Sunshine Coast Trails. Her work is lovely.

So, anyway – Becky took a workshop on portrait photography in Nova Scotia recently. She mentioned she was looking for volunteers to practice on. Seeing my chance to get to know her better, I offered to sit.

Ken and I had out portrait taken once before a few years ago. I have to say it was a bit of an ordeal. Furniture was moved, lights were lit, there were screens, and cords. The setup was complex and then it felt like there was hours of fussing, hundred of photos taken, with me sitting on a stool, wondering if my smile was crooked or hair under control. The end result was nice — but the process was a bit much.

So, it was an absolute delight when Becky showed up yesterday with camera in hand, looked around the house, set me down in a chair, and took my picture.

Sure there was some fussing. The light from the window made my purple frame glasses give a reflection she didn’t like on my face, and could we please take down some of the art on the wall to have a clear background — no problem.

I took her direction,  my glasses came off, then on. She said, turn your head this way, lower your chin, look at me with intent, and snap.

I don’t think Becky was here a full hour. She took maybe 20 pictures of me. Then before she left, she asked Ken if he wanted his picture taken too. Ken changed his shirt, sat at the table and click, click — done and done.

The end result – Amazing!

Becky caught us. The photo of Ken is pure Ken. And, while I admit, it is hard to look at a photo of myself without some form of judgement, I feel I must write a book now. I’ve the perfect photo for a jacket cover!

The sign of an expert in any field, is in their ability to make hard work appear easy. Becky did just that.

I salute!


by Jan

I rarely get excited by celebrity. Oh, sure I often tell folks how ,I saw Elvis Stojko on the streets of Vancouver and said, “Hey Elvis,” he in turn said, “Hey!

It was cool. But, for the most part, the few times I’ve met the famous, I don’t stumble or goo-gah.

Stefan Sagmeister, was someone I was star struck by. I think he was just so darn handsome that it threw me. I mumbled something clever when I met him, like… “heh, I’m a big fan.” Honestly, other than listening to his TED talks, I know nothing of his work. Still, I was struck.

Now, last night we saw Ron James. I’m a fan, I really like him, but I was not star struck in the least. What I was, was totally convinced, that if given half the chance, he and I would be terrific friends. I just know it.

Of course we didn’t meet. I was one person in a house full of people he made laugh. I did not go back stage. I did not shake his hand, invite him for tea, or grab a photo with him. He came on stage, did his thing really well. We laughed and applauded, then came home.

It was a super fun time, but I feel it was also, a missed opportunity.

He’s on to his next gig in Mapleridge tonight, then Prince George. I’m left with memories of a great show, and the certain knowledge that Ron James and I should be friends. I know he and Ken would get on like a house of fire as well.

Knowing famous people is not my goal; choosing fun people to be friends with is.

Marian Bantjes is probably the most famous person I know today. I like her for a plethora of reasons, her fame is only a bonus for me though. Now, I’d really like Marian to marry Colin Firth. Again, not because he is famous, but because he is someone I’d like to be friends with, and I thought it would be nice if they could come for over dinner. She tells me he is already married…. Whatever.

All this mindless rambling, to say, we had loads of fun at the Ron James show last night. We laughed and laughed, and I am not giving up on making him my friend. I really hope he will one day come to my birthday party, or sit on the deck with me and we could swap stories. I just feel that, if we would take the time, we’d make good friends. I just know it.

Oh, here’s an idea — maybe Marian could marry Ron James! Yeah!

P.S. Did I quit the writing class too soon? 🙂


by Jan

If you read this bloggy thing on a regular basis, on January 3rd I said I wanted the Canadian comic, Ron James come to my birthday party. On January 4th, I said I would use all the points, I collect to get him here.

If you haven’t Googled Ron James yet, please do so. Find some clips on You tube, sit back and enjoy a show. To me the guy is one of the best word smiths around AND he is hilarious.

Now, If wishes were horses, we’re riding tonight!

My birthday has passed, but Ron James is in Sechelt!
We have tickets to his show tonight, and I’m pretty darn excited about it!

Oh and… it looks like my brother Art sold the house in Dodge. Crazy times of change ahead.


by Jan

After much hubbub, hand wringing, and advice from a really smart friend, I decided to quit the on-line writing class.

It was not the class for me. I struggled and struggled just to understand most of the assignments. Not much made sense to me. The class was for screen writers and it wasn’t really a class. It was on-line lectures and a web site to post stuff. But rarely was a comment or critique made. I could go on with reasons and excuses, but the truth of the matter is — the class wasn’t for me. I appreciate my friend Marian, and her voice of reason. She encouraged me to quit and I was grateful.

The class did excite me in some ways. Maybe this fall I will find a creative writing class at the college. Then again — perhaps, I’ll sit on the deck and read.

I admit it is hard for me to quit. I don’t like being a drop out. I know I have a hard time sticking to things. I like to go where my nose takes me. My attention span is short and when things get hard, I look around for easier.

Then again, I have stayed happily married since 1983, and sober for 33 years. 1984 was same year I started playing tai chi and quilting. I’ve been spinning since my leg wreck more than 25 years ago. Sandie and I have been best friends for 40 years! And while I’m not participating in PAWMA, NWMAF of Tai Chi seminars, I’m in close touch with many friends I’ve met through the arts. I imagine I will grow old with them as well.

Chungliang Al Huang encouraged me back in 1989, to try something new every decade. He suggested I give it 10 years. His theory was that practicing anything for 10 years would make you pretty proficient at it and in 80 years, you would have eight skills you were pretty good at.

Even though I’ve quit more things than I’ve started – I have stuck to a few. This bloggy thing for example has been going on since 2008!

So, I’m a quitter who persists!


by Jan

The dog ate my homework.

That’s my story – I’m sticking to it.