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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.

ourplaceintheworld

by Jan

I do not know my place in the world on the grand scale of life, and I don’t really care about it.

I have no illusions about life before or after this one. I care nothing for legacy. I only know, I am here now, and am glad for it.

My place in fitness class, on Tuesday and Thursday morning, is an entirely different thing.

Fitness class at the Sechelt Activity Centre is super fun.

The instructor is wonderful! For a little over an hour, Jacquie leads us in heart pounding aerobics, strength training exercises, and muscle relaxing, stretches.

It’s a class I look forward to and feel great leaving from. (Unlike swimming where, so far, I only feel good leaving the pool!)

The gym we gather in is big. It’s a good thing too, because often 60 people plus, come to this class. I’m talking numbers of people in the class and not age.

Of course, we move a lot around the gym, but like musical chairs, when ever we face the front of the room — everyone finds their place!

June, Jane and John are on the far right middle section. Anne, Helmut, and Kathy hang out in the back.

My place is in the second row, far left. Michael is on my right. In front of me is Elisabeth and Renata. I have no clue who is behind me.

As in any class, we all find our preferred power spots.

I’ve taught enough classes to know this. If I think back to different classes, I’ve taught or taken, I can tell you to a tee who stood where.

The first year I learned Tai Chi, I stood behind Darryla, who wore the same worn out, and ripped pair of pants to class for the longest time.

It wasn’t long before, I became a front row centre, type of student. I didn’t want to miss anything and I admit to being a bit of a suck up, to whoever was teaching.

I mention this, only because, yesterday Elisabeth wasn’t there for part of the class. At least she wasn’t in “her spot”.

It was weird, every one in our little corner of the class was a bit off. Finally, she came in late and took her spot — we all got comfortable again. Ann who’s spot is right of Elizabeth, gave her hell. “Where were you? We were worried sick!”

I smiled.
I get it. We all need our special spot, if not in the world, at least in class. And we count on those around us to have theirs.

sweettalker

by Jan

We have a two story house.

For the most part, Ken hangs out downstairs with the big TV, close to his shop and the wood stove. I’m more of an upstairs girl. I like the view, the kitchen is up stairs, and I watch totally different TV shows than Ken watches. (Except during Perry Mason and the Olympics.)

Boze get a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs. She like us both equally well. As long as she is treated like the princess she is — she doesn’t care who provides the love.

Several times a day I stop what I’m doing, and listen in to what goes on downstairs — especially when Ken plays his guitar and sings.

Ken practices a little bit everyday, but rarely when I watch, so I listen from upstairs. I love his playing and when he sings, I’m over the moon. He played and sang at our wedding, a few years ago, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the park. Pure joy!

The other time I love listening in on him, is when he is talking to Boze. Ken is sweet and gentle and it’s no wonder Boze is so happy.

The boy and the dog have their “thing” — they pee in the yard together, they have their walks, and lap time, and several times a day they snuggle and play. And they have the sweetest conversations.

When Peet was alive, Ken used to pick him up, and together they would walk around, and look out different windows in the house. My heart would just melt when they did this.

I am so incredibly grateful to live in a home where the talk is sweet.


Happy Valentine’s Day to you my love.

moreOlympicrambles

by Jan

I’ll start off this ramble with two of my favourite announcer quotes…

“Whoever is leading will win this race!”
“Well, THAT was a big mistake. Of course you can’t see it and the judges won’t see it, but it was a BIG mistake.”

Now, here’s an Olympic amazement for me…

6.11.616 to 6.11.618 is the time difference between two speed skaters after a 5 km race. It was the difference between a silver medal and a bronze one. The time for the guy who got in fourth place? Add another 3/1000  second! I’m not posting the gold medal winner’s time, because he blew it out of the water and won by a landslide of 2 entire seconds!

And just for fun, here’s a description of a half a minute run, in the slope style snow board event. Yes, I googled it, and this is the English version.

switch right lipped 270, pretzel 270 out of the top rail. And then switch on front 450 out of the next. And then 270 on, pretzel 270 out of the down rail. And then on the third rail feature, there’s like a jump to a butter pad to a cannon rail.* So I’m doing 180 up, then switch on to the cannon rail to a corked 450 out. And then I’m going left double cork 12, double Japan, to switch right, double cork 10 safety, to switch left, double cork ten tail.

He didn’t mention the 1440 something.

In the past, when watching the Olympics, I would flip from station to station whenever a commercial came on — always grateful that we have so many options.

This time we are recording the 24/7 CBC coverage. It’s great. We can fast forward through the commercials and the interviews, and can cheer the athletes when they do what they do. CBC is doing a great job of showing a huge variety of competition with athletes of all countries.

The best part is we can come and go away from the TV (mostly to get more snacks) without fear of missing anything.

Go sports!

thebarisset

by Jan

I worked at the O on Bowen Island for 12 years. Starting the day with addicts in early recovery was a trip — so to speak. Some days were a challenge and others were filled with inspiration and hope.

The O is where I learned to set the bar low.

For a lot of people in the world, high expectations are the norm. We are encouraged to reach for the stars, shoot for the moon, crawl out on a limb. You know… push.

But, at the O we learned to set the bar low.

Most addicts in early recovery have not had much success in quite a while, and just waking up sober is a challenge. So, the bar is set low and then celebrated when met.

I remember Daryl, a counsellor at the O talked about this. He said the bar is set so low, that if you don’t drink for a 24 hour period, we applaud you!, Go a month and you get a chip, a year and we give you a cake! Plus can stand up and talk in a meeting, and no one will stop you, no matter what you say. At the end of the day we are on your side and will cheer in celebration with you.

I also remember my friend Cynthia teaching us the money and business mantra of “Do as much as you can, for as long as you can, with as little as you can. When you can do more — do.”

Ever since then, I’ve set the bar low in life, and congratulate myself when I reach it.

The bar I set, be it for sobriety, exercising, or for living below our means, is always low, and so far has always been met.

In Tai Chi we are asked – How little can you do, to accomplish this?

I ask myself, what is the least I can do? Then I do that. If per chance I do more — gravy.

Because of this low standard, I must admit, under the circumstances, I do pretty well in life.

This brings me around to watching the Women’s Olympic event of snowboard slope style last night.

First off, the weather forced the cancellation of qualifying runs. The wind was gusting, and in a sport in which the competitors often weigh less than 100 pounds and wear baggy clothes, this was a set up to turn any athlete into a friggen kite.

Basically the medals were awarded to the women who conserved their talent, and got down the mountain without being blown to kingdom come by the wind, or crashing down on their head when they were.

The bar was set low. Finishing on your feet was the least and the best they could do. The reward for survival was gold, silver and bronze.

It was a shame as the women, in this crazy sport, had a hard time showing the world, what they could do under crazy circumstances.

However come to think about it — that’s exactly what they did. Salute!

don’tbothermenowI’mwatching.

by Jan

Olympic fever – I get it.
But when I looked up the spelling of fever what I found was the word I was really looking for…. Fervour.

While some people think there are good and harmful effects to a fever — what you hear most about fevers is to break them.

With fervour — only time will mellow the intensity of this mindset.  The Olympics give us three full weeks (I include the para-olympics in this time frame) to get over the enthusiasm.

I’ve always had a love/hate feeling with the Olympics.

As a child it was my dream to participate in them in some fashion. I wanted to be a down hill ski racer, first and foremost. While I knew that dream would never come to fruition, I at times turned my dream to becoming a cameraman for the sport. I just wanted to be there.

What I became was a fan.

I will never forget Spider Sabich flying down the ski hill in the late 60s. He was a madman and I was thrilled every time he took air.

I will cheer and scream when I watch the competition. I also hide under a blanket when someone crashes or gets hurt. I don’t care who has the thrill of victory and I feel sympathy for those who experience the agony of defeat. I root for all of them.

Some sports like the 50k men’s cross country ski event is just as exciting as the snow boarder who completes his event in under one minute. On any given day, anyone can win.

I love watching these athletes and I marvel at the skill, courage, and dedication they exhibit.

What I hate is the commentary. The announcers and their inane blather.

I’ve decided to write down some of the more ridiculous comments this go around. I’ll post them in batches and one at a time, because after just one day of sports so far… the things commentators say…. Well, it’s enough to drive one to drink.

For example — after the Canadian sweethearts Tessa and Scot finished the team ice dancing event, the guy with the microphone asked Scot about the technicality of the routine and then he asked Tessa about her “new dress.” AGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Then there was  the guy who stuck a microphone in the face of Charlotte Kalla after she won a gold medal in cross country skiing, and asked her when “she knew” she had won the gold…. She humbly answered… “uhm, when I crossed the finish line.”

ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

Okay, I know the Olympics are money dependant and announcers are there for our benefit to help us understand who did what and when. Also, they do not have a script and the same stupid questions get asked of each athlete. “How does it feel to be in the Olympics?” Or worse…. “You must be so disappointed with that performance.” (Is that really a question?)

If I could be an announcers just once – It wouldn’t matter what sport they let me announce, or who they let me interview — gold medal winner or 23rd place finisher…. I can tell you absolutely that it would sound like this if you listened in to me as a commentator, with a microphone at the Olympics.

“Holy crap! Wow! Wowza! Amazing! Unbelievable! Incredible! Well done! That must be fun? You must be so proud? Good on you! Thanks for the thrill. Is there anything you’d like to say?”

toseeornottosee

by Jan

I learned a new word today. Aphantasia.

Aphantasia is the inability to visualize in your mind’s eye. The inability to picture something without actually seeing it with your physical eyes.

So, if you ask me to picture a dog in my mind I see…. nothing. If I close my eyes to see it, I see a blackness. What I can do though is pull up a memory of a dog. I can describe Laska, Lucy, Cricket or Boze easy enough. I know what a dog looks like but do I actually see it? Nope.

I’m not going to say I have this aphantasia, what I will say is I’ve never been good at visualization.

For example, I cannot visualize how I might re-arrange furniture in a room, unless I actually move the furniture to “see” if it can go there. I cannot imagine how a change may look in my head.

Ken can do this. He’ll draw plans for his projects from several different views. He’ll show me a drawing and say it’s the view from the top, or the backside. He can point it out easy enough, but I can not visualize what his project will look like, until I actually see it built.

I can describe what my friend looks like to you. But, I don’t “see” them in my minds eye – I’m not describing an image I am looking at, what I can do, is tell you what features I remember about a person, place or thing. I have a good memory.

If I close my eyes – I see black, sometimes sparkly lights.

If I’m taken on a guided meditation, of which I’ve been on many… I have the words now to tell you, that I’ve never actually “seen” the path in the woods, that I am guided to walk down. What I do, is remember, some path I’ve taken before — a place I like to go and I’ll remember a time I did walk down it. I do have an imagination and can imagine a path — but I don’t see one.

I have experienced several occasions where I’ve had, what I call my third eye open.

Three or four times in my life I’ve seen imagines in my “mind’s eye.”  These were fantastic and very enjoyable experiences. They were certainly different enough from my regular mind’s eye to give me reason, to ring the bell of enlightenment. I would love to have this happen more often.

Do I have Aphantasia? I have no idea, I don’t really care and it doesn’t changes anything. Still, I find this interesting. I know I will experiment more with my imagination and sight.

And, I’m going to start asking others — Do you see what I don’t see?

nopenixninenada

by Jan

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao; The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

And that is why a zillion books are written on the Tao. Classes are held all over the world on the Tao. Everyone is doing their level best to name and explain the eternal Tao.

This is also true with the saying… No means no.

In a perfect world — no is a complete sentence, the end of the conversation. A No vote stops the bill from being passed, the convention centre from being built or the municipality from going ahead. No stops Site C and women all over the world are safe from harm when they declare No!

And yet… much like the Tao and the many ways people try to explained the unexplainable; saying No, can be seen as a jumping off place for negotiating.

I’ve taken a lot of self defence classes. Heck, I’ve even taught them. We teach how and when to say No in all these classes. We use our voice, we put our hands up for emphasis and we crank up the volume as well.

NO!

In a perfect world — whatever we said no to, should be the end of it. Done, finished, kaput.

The problem is we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where the word no, if we aren’t vigilant, becomes something (like the Tao) we think we need to explain it 10,000 different ways.

On Bowen Island we voted No on becoming a municipality two times, before it became a muni. I remember voting No on building the convention centre in Oregon a couple of times as well. (News flash, the convention centre got built).

A lot of causes are put on a ballot time and again and again. They get tweaked and negocieated bit by bit, until they pass, and then and only then will you never see them again. Right or wrong (and I think it is wrong) we say no until we get to a yes.

In push hands, we hear no, no, no, no…. Yet, we are taught that we keep at it until we find yes. We “need” to be able to say yes to the force. Let it in — only then will we be able to manipulate it to our advantage.

People say no to shit that happens all the time.

Saying no doesn’t alwasy have dire consquences if it isn’t heard, or honoured, but it can and it does eat away at communication.

I’ve said no — only to find myself in a negotiation to find something that may work better, be it a time or day or action.

Oh, you say no to Tuesday mornings… does Friday work?
Oh, you say no to this? How about that?
Oh, you don’t eat tomatoes? Have you tried them with green chile?

We need to be clear — No means no. Full stop, No is a complete sentence. No does not mean, try again later, or come at it from a different angle.

Say what you mean, mean what you say – just don’t say it mean. Practice, practice, practice!

gamespeopleplay

by Jan

The other night we were invited to the home of friends for dinner. After we ate — we played games! We played both a card game and a board game.

Oh, it was fun.

On the way home, Ken and I thought it would be fun to do more of that, so… Now that my cooking hasn’t set off any fire alarms lately — perhaps, we will lure friends over more often and then…. Pounce them with a game or two.

We have a few card games at the ready, and I’m going to keep my eyes open for some fun board games as well.

Each time we do play cards or a games with friends, we say, “Wasn’t that fun!” and, “We should do that more often.” Because it was and we should.

Watch out, 2018 – maybe become the year of a regular game night on Samron Rd.

yoursupportisappreciated

by Jan

Secretly, I know people read this bloggy thing, still I’m caught of guard when someone tells me they do.

For the most part, I write this public, personal diary, out of habit, and to keep Sandie informed of my goings on. (We don’t talk often enough!) Plus, this bloggy thing keeps my brain working, and is a good practice.

While I welcome comments, I do not expect expect them  — yet, this week I scored!

I received several book and author recommendations. My friend Sarah, even dropped off five books she thought I might like!

Yay and thank you!

I’ve also come to the conclusion that biographies are as brainless reading, as the TV show, Say Yes to the Dress is! Maybe it’s my choice of who to read about, but…. So far I’ve found the ones I’ve chosen are super easy reading, yet extremely boring.

It seems only, celebrities, politicians and dead people from past monarchies, fill the shelves at the library for biographies. Like I said … booooooorrrrrring!

The good news is I now have a stack of books on my side table, a new author to check out, and my suggested reading list is long again.

I’m ready to dive into some new stories!

Thank you for reading this bloggy thing. AND thank you for responding to my whinny… I’ve nothing to read post!

whattoread?

by Jan

I love a good book. Who doesn’t?

I carry a list of recommendations that I’ve collected from friends, and I pull it out when I’m at the library.

Our library is small — yet they will order any book I want if it isn’t already on the shelf. But, almost every book on my “to read” list is not on the shelf, so putting a hold on a book is just part of my library experience.

Of course then, I have to pick another book that I know nothing about to bring home. I usually pick from the cover, the description on the jacket, and of course, font size matters.

If the words, war, mystery, suspense, terror, or abuse are in the description – I pass. I don’t have time for that shit.

What I’m finding though, is most books make for interesting reading because of war, mystery, suspense, terror, or abuse, with the overcoming, and getting through the war, mystery, suspense, terror, or abuse.

I brought home and started four books last night. I am in that horrible in-between books place, so am looking for the next good read to swallow me.

I read a chapter of each — nope.

One scared the crap out of me on the first few pages, one was set in a place where I had a difficult time pronouncing the names and places in my head (this may be a better audio book for me) and one was about the super natural. The fourth book was childish.

So – my dilemma – I want an engaging book, but not one that is scary, heart pounding, or silly.

Ken reads history and “how to” books. It got me thinking, maybe I can pass on novels for a bit and look for another genre. Maybe give biographies a go.

I’ve read a few — mostly about rock stars like Keith Richards and Bob Dylan – I enjoyed them. I like gossip — so perhaps reading about others peoples lives will satisfy my reading requirements.

Can anyone be interesting enough to write about their life if they haven’t been involved in war, mystery, suspense, terror, or abuse and how they overcome it all?

I’m going to find out.