Featured post

Welcome to my bloggything…

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.

GotchadaybyMuMu

by Jan

It’s my “gotcha day”
One whole year ago I came to live with the Parkers in Sechelt.
Let me tell you how it’s been. But first off – big Happy Birthday wishes to Patti Brown!

Now…
As some of you know, I used to live with another lady in another town and then she died. She was very sick for a long time, and I was a good comfort to her. We both stay in bed, day after day for several years, and then one day, it all changed. Someone took me to the Bowen Island Dog Ranch. That’s when a nice man named Steve call Jan and Ken to come meet me.

Here is a picture of that first meeting.


When I first met Jan and Ken, I tried to smile, but I was real sad and scared. I was also pretty chubby, and I had a very hard time walking. I just wanted to sleep.

All that has change.

First off, I’m a very happy dog now. I lost a lot of weight and now run and play to my hearts content. I still nap a lot, and I still get to eat cookies! (Just not as many as before.)

I’ve made a lot of new friends here. But, for some strange reason, we haven’t seen many in month and months. Besides Jan and Ken, my favourite people are Sarah and Maylynn. They are really nice and sometimes I have a sleep over, they take me swimming. I know a nice man named Iain who gives me baths and haircuts and I come home smelling all sweet. The vets at the Sechelt Animal Hospital are nice, and even when they poke on me or give me medicine and shots, I still get a cookie. I like it best when I get on a scale there, and everyone cheers for me! They tell me I’m a good and pretty dog, who is also strong and healthy.


My best friend is Oliver. We hit it off right away. We have a lot of fun together. We run and romp and play tug and it’s great! I also play with Oshy and Max and once I played with a really big dog named Trigger. I get to hike with Honey, Diesel and Suki, but they’re little dogs and mostly ignore me, except Diesel… he barks at me.

Moser is some sort of family to me. He eats my toys though and I haven’t seen him in a really long time. (sometimes I send him a card). I have a cousin named Blue. I have Facebook friends too. Mimi, Maggie, Willie, Woodstock, Henri, Carlos, Helen, and Lt. Dan, oh and I can’t forget Louie, Aspen and Stella. I’m pen pals with a puppy named Georgie. I know some cats too – Mittens, Boots, Maize and Hazel. I would totally chase the cats given the chance! I chase squirrels, balls and sticks too.

I like to play in mud puddles! If I see water, I will jump in! I also like to eat grass, and I check my “pee mail” everyday around the neighbourhood.

I don’t mean to brag but, I get fed really good food everyday! Plus, Ken takes me walking in the mornings and I go with Jan on high adventures in the afternoon. Then I nap. I have my own place on the sofa and can look out the window. I also have my own chair, dish, bed and house! It’s nice.

I have a lot of toys, my favourite is the warthog MayLynn gave me. (I have to hide it from Moser!) I love big sticks and balls. Oh and… my soft pony, yellow duck, brown bunny, tweedy, and the Christmas jingle thingy.

My favourite thing to do is follow Jan around. Where she goes I go. It doesn’t matter if she goes up and down the stairs 100 times. I’m with her! I even follow her to the bathroom! She loves it! Ha-Ha!

I wag my tail hard when I see Ken. I really like him, but I don’t like to leave Jan alone for long. At night, Ken and I both go pee, in the back yard before bed! We do the same thing in the morning. He and I play silly games too! It’s fun. But, then I run back to Jan because she misses me.

Not everything is grand!

I do not like being left alone, someone still needs to come with me in the yard. The car is bad. I really don’t like the car. I hang my head low when we go for a ride and if I get left in the car, I will HOWL! I am able to get into the car all by myself now, but I prefer to make a big deal out of it! I like the drama involved. I take my own sweet time and pretend I’m helpless, even when I know there’s a cookie in for me sooner or later. I’m very happy to get OUT of the car and can jump out really fast, no cookie needed!

Jan says, it’s a good thing that I’m a very good dog and super cute, because while I am able to do things, like sit, stay, come, lie down, and go away… I only like to do those things when I feel like it. I don’t like others telling me what to do. I’m a good and happy dog, but I’m nobody’s circus dog. I’m very stubborn. Show me the cookie and I’ll think about doing your bidding… sometimes, but don’t count on it.

Well, that’s my story for now. It’s been a good and strange year.

I’m having a happy Gotcha day with Jan and Ken! I hope I get a new toy or fancy cookie in celebration.

I also hope anyone who reads this, is happy with who ever got you too!
Smell you later,
MuMu

loveinthetimeofcovid19

by Jan

Type, type, type… delete, delete, delete…This seems to be a strong theme for me right now.

I have opinions!! And, while I prefer to err on the side of generosity, it is easy to be frighten and worried.

Love in the time of Covid19 is hard — and so very necessary.

The coast community is full of caring folks. People who tend to support each other. Yet, five weeks into the protocol of how to live with Covid19, it’s no wonder we are getting all itchy and scratchy.

There’s some crazy hoopla going on right now. People are ranting and raving in the newspaper, on street corners and on social media. These people are loud enough for me to think OMG – we’re doomed!

The problem you see, is other people!
You know… Those people… the ones who aren’t doing what Dr. Bonnie says to do! THEM!

The angry are starting to harass THEM. People are being encouraged to “Name and Shame” when they see someone not following the “rules”. Some locals have gone absolutely nuts with fear and worry about people who don’t live here. THOSE damn tourist, traveling on the ferry, for the long weekend. THEM!

People holding signs up along the highway, screaming, GO HOME! On the community Facebook page there are calls for someone who NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING! Letters to the editor saying, SIGN THE PETITION! CALL THE COPS! How do we KEEP PEOPLE AWAY, ARREST THEIR ASS, and SHUT DOWN THE FERRY!

It’s been some crazy and cruel hoopla. From the looks of the madness, there are hoards of people coming to the coast spreading disease and they just don’t care! You know the kind… THEM.

It is easy to fall into the trap. We are staying home, why can’t THEY?

I know full well, I can’t control what others do. Yet, darn it, right now, what others do can be dangerous, especially if they aren’t doing it like I am!

I was pretty upset with other people doing this and that… and then…
A few days ago, a RCMP cruiser pull into our driveway!

A cop car in our driveway! Yikes!
What happen was, I sewed some face masks, for a friend, and she came by to pick them up. That’s right – I’m friends with a cop!

I doubt she knows this, but her short visit changed me, profoundly.

Ken and I told her (from the safety of appropriate distance) how much we appreciated her and the work she is doing. We said, we felt bad for all the calls she was surely getting from so many angry people, and how it must be so hard, especially now. We also expressed our concerns about the strange times we are in right now.

What happen — instead of agreeing with us, or joining in with her own complaints …  She showed us how having compassion, staying calm, and listening, is doing the next right thing.

Maybe it was her training as a public servant, maybe her personality shown through. Perhaps it was a mix of the two — She addressed our concerns with such presence, gentleness, and compassion, that our rants dissolved. In a matter of moments, we were reminded that despite a few loud asshats, we live in a caring community, with people doing their best, in a difficult time.

Ken and I witnessed — those who are hired to “Serve and Protect,” are doing just that.

In my past, the cops, in general, were not people I admired or trusted. Today, my friend the cop, changed that for me. Because of her we calmed down and were truly comforted. Salute!

Oh, and all that hoopla about the tourist coming over…
Well, it didn’t happen. BC Ferries showed the weekend numbers. A normal sailing to the coast, carries 1500 people, per sailing. Right now, the number of sailings have been cut, and the number of people on each boat has been limited. Over the holiday weekend, each sailing had less than 350 people on the boats, going both directions.

So, while a few scream and holler … people really are staying home. Actually, there was much ado about nothing.

I don’t think many of us need a cop telling us to calm down. I believe we can all be that friend and example for each other. No one wants to shut down our civil liberties and yes, we need to aware, but we don’t need to be consumed by fear. When we get a little nutty, (and we all do) let’s remind ourselves and each other that there are resources and help at the ready.

Most importantly, there are those we can count on in hard and scary times. And not just the cops, either, we can count on each other. People truly are doing the next right thing.

My brother tells me everyday, “Do your best.” I will add, “Do your best and do it with compassion.”

We may be apart, but we are not alone. We can do this.

everythingnewisoldagain

by Jan

This art created by my brilliant friend Marian Bantjes hangs on our wall.

It seems like a good time to share it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Localism by Marian Bantjes

Maybe one day we will all be local
In our small communities structured for survival.
We will hew things out of wood
and farm our plots of land for seasonal food
Our neighbours will be potters, metalsmiths,
bakers, weavers and stonemasons.
We’ll have a primitive doctor
and a sadistic dentist.
The weather will be our enemy, and our savior
gracing us with water
or withholding it for too long.
We will be surrounded by the warmth of animals
using them for everything they have to
give us while struggling to keep them alive.
We’ll know each other well and gather
under Summer stars and around Winter fires
To tell stories about the past.
We’ll assist in births and deaths.
We’ll worry mostly about food.
We’ll draw pictures of each other on skins
and in stone & wood.
Now and then a stranger will come.

washyourhands

by Jan

Years ago, I read a book titled Her Wits about Her: Self-Defense Success Stories by Women. Edited by Denlse Calgnon and Gail Groves.

What I remember most about the book was, there were some stories where — a woman went about her day and NOTHING happened!

The title of the book reminded me, that these were SUCCESS stories!

The point of learning and practicing self defense is so nothing happens and we all get home safely.

Of course, there were also stories in the book of women who fought an attacker, some who were hurt and some were raped.

All who shared their story survived.
Huge success!

We are living in a crazy and scary time right now.

Let’s keep our wits about us. Let’s practice good self (and community) defense, and do the next right thing.

bestbuy

by Jan

In the end of the year review that I write each year — there is one question that I already have the 2020 answer to and we’ve only hit February!

The question is, what’s the best thing you bought this year?

My answer — cleat clips for my hiking boots!

These are rubber strappy things with metal studs, that get stretched around boots, making walking on icy roads and trails possible without doing the penguin waddle!

I tried them out yesterday for the first time and they work like a hot dam! The confidence they provided as I didn’t skate, shuffle, or fall across the parking lot, to trail head was worth the $19. price tag alone!

Climbing up one of the snowy trails was delightful. There was one less thing to worry about on my romp. The other bonus of these clips was the noise they made when I hiked. Click, click, click… No bear or courage could say they didn’t hear me coming. The sound was better than my singing voice and took less energy.

Yesterday’s romp had it all. Ice, snow, water, mud, and sun. MuMu and I had a great time, and when the sun came out, it started to melt the snow in the trees, for postcard beauty!

The one problem with the boot clips was…  I didn’t notice the sound change until I was about 3 km into my hike and looked down to see one of the strappy things had popped off.

Dang it!

I had just been telling myself how cool these cleats were and now, I’d lost one.

I turned around. I was willing to back track with hope I could find it.

Now, usually when I’m in the woods, I watch my step, but I also make sure to look up and enjoy the view. Now, I was on a mission. My head down and my eyes scanning the ground.

The foot prints I left gave me a clue. One had pokey marks, the other was a regular boot print. However, there was also a lot of water on the trail, and soggy mud mixed with ice. The clip thingies are black and could be hard to see on the forest floor.

One km back I found it! Yay!

It must have come off when I jumped over a big mud puddle.

I’m not changing my mind though. These cleats thingies, that keep me on my feet, will go down as the best thing I bought in 2020. Especially if I can keep them on my feet!

 

abookandablanket

by Jan

I just read a book about a book! What’s not to love?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon was a favourite read of a man I met once, and whose daughter in law, is my forever friend.

I listened to this book while cutting up and sewing together bright Hawaiian batiks that were given to me by another forever friend.

During this past week, I felt creative and smart.

Creative by working with pretty fabric, and smart by listening to this story. The Shadow of the Wind is not a beach book.

An epic story set in 1945, Barcelona. Daniel, the bookseller’s son, is introduced to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, on the day he says he cannot remember his mothers face.

Tasked with choosing one book that has special meaning to the boy, Daniel makes his selection from the labyrinth to take home and care for. In doing so, he finds himself involved in a life long adventure and mystery. The book he selected was written by a man named Julian Carax, and very well may be the last book in existence by Carax. Someone has been finding the Carax works and destroying them.

Both the story and the quilt, are packed with twists and turns.

This book is full of violence, ripping and gripping. It also has intrigue, love, resolution, and history. Strangely enough, the quilt I’m working on, has taken on the same qualities.

Unlike the book, I’m not yet sure how this quilt will wrap up… yet.

My review of the book is a big five big stars. I light a candle for Eddie in memory, and I send gratitude and love, to my forever friends, Jenny and Sandie.

quitefarandprettyhigh

by Jan

The first time Ken took me to visit his family ranch in South Dakota, we drove from our home in Colorado Springs. I love a road trip, and am usually quite happy to spend hours in a car. The Parker ranch was just north of Valentine, Nebraska, so the trip took us through miles and miles of sand hills.

I remember saying to Ken, “This is pretty, but enough is enough.” I’m not a prairie girl. I love a long view, but apparently I also prefer something to break it up — like a mountain or tree!

Finally, Ken turned down a dirt road and I got excited. I began to put my coat on in anticipation of seeing the house he grew up in. Ken looked at me, smiled, and shook his head and said, “Not yet.

I wondered, how far down a dirt road can a family live?

I thought of this yesterday, as MuMu and I were hiking.

Ken dropped us near the trail head, it was a beautiful day, and we were off. It wasn’t long before, we started to climb.

I knew we’d be climbing when we started. My friend and hiking guru, Becky says, you gotta climb to see the views! Besides most of the hikes around Sechelt go, up!

We were still climbing four kilometres in, when we finally took a break.

As MuMu and I sat on the ground, catching our breath, I laughed and thought about that dirt road in South Dakota… and I wondered how far up can a trail really go?

it’satrap!

by Jan

I use this bloggy thing as a private/public diary where I practice writing skills and at times sort my thoughts. This post is an example of thinking out loud.

When I was growing up and in school, I constantly wondered at how some of my classmates knew stuff that I didn’t.

For example, how did Mark Hartshorn, who sat in front of me from grade one on, (because Hartshorn came before Hudson in the seating chart), know about the ACLU? He knew who the leaders were, what it stood for, and could shared other tidbits of information, that I had no clue about.

In my early years I thought, people either knew stuff or they didn’t. I stayed quiet with my ignorance.

Ignorance is today’s word and topic.

The dictionary says, the word ignorance is a noun. A lack of knowledge or information. It can describe a person in a state of being unaware, and can also describe someone who deliberately ignores or disregards information or facts.

Jeepers, how fitting for the life and times we are living today.

It is hard to believe anyone would choose to ignore information, and yet… we do it all the time.

Still, I like to think that I fall on the side of the ignorant person that just doesn’t know… yet.

Both are correct according to the dictionary. But in practice, the difference is huge. One is forgivable and the other appalling.

I think of myself as a lifelong learner, someone who is curious, yet struggles with her brain. I know I am teachable and able to learn. Yet, somethings are harder for me to grasp than others.

Math is an example.

I can add using my fingers, I keep track of the family finances and pay our bills, yet, I draw a complete blank at multiplication and division problems. I cannot imagine figuring out higher maths skills  like, algebra or calculus. I run to Ken for answers when I can’t figure out how to lay out a quilt or if I need to see how many “whatevers” go into how many “something or others.” Please don’t ask me to keep score or add up my dominos on game night.

My struggle with numbers and math is real. I don’t think of myself as lazy and I do try to figure stuff out on my own. My brain will just plain stop working, when I come across certain problems. No amount of explanation can clear the fog. On these occasions, I tend to tear up, and walk away.

I stay ignorant.

Now, I have new information and I have to wonder if I choose not to learn.

Am I staying ignorant on purpose? Do I struggle because I can’t learn, as my brain fogs up, or do I not want to learn because it is hard, and I’m okay with this shadow?

Yikes!

I know today, Mark Hartshorn knew stuff I didn’t, because his home life was different from mine. His parents probably read to him or they discussed stuff at the dinner table. That didn’t happen in our home. Growing up, I was told I was stupid and I believed it.

I was a mature adult before I was able to see myself as smart. And to this day, when anyone shines or shits, on my intelligence, I get emotional and tear up.

Perhaps, I fall too easy on the side of can’t. Maybe it is more comfortable for me to think, I can’t learn math. Have I really made up my mind and decided that I won’t?

The opposite of ignorance according to the dictionary is education and awareness. Perhaps, as we are seeing in Washington these days, ignorance is also a decision we can get trapped in.

I’ve a lot to think about today.

snowmageddon

by Jan

Okay, okay, okay. I know it is -45 in Whitehorse! I know the weather we are having is nothing for the hardy folks of Ontario. But, for us… the weather we are having is a big deal!

Ken and I just spent two extra days in Vancouver, so as NOT to drive in the winter shit storm we are experiencing. And honestly, having people in the north and east telling us to get over it, is not helpful.

We went to town for a scheduled “look see” for Ken. It was to be an easy in and out. Instead, our shoulders were up around our ears, and even though we have good winter tires, and a reliable car, we stayed put as we watched the temp drop and the snow fall.

Oh, we could have come home earlier. I could have driven in the snow, freezing temperatures and icy roads at night… but… NO.

The older we get, the faster we learn – it is better to hit the “easy button” when dealing with stressful situations. Doing the next right thing for us, was spending money and staying put in a nice hotel for another night.

We came home when a weather window opened for easier travel. Better safe than dead is my motto!

Sure, years ago when we lived in Colorado, this kind of weather excited us. Get out the skis! We were happy to head into the thick of it. Let me break it to you now – those days are over for us.

While, I don’t feel the need to travel to super warm or tropical places each winter – I also don’t feel the need to be outside dealing with this crap!

Snow and cold on the coast is not our usual weather! Folks here don’t have the equipment, budget or experience to deal with this kind of weather. The right thing to do is close the schools and shops and to stay home! Saying, “hell to the no!” for driving in this, is the next right thing to do here!

So back off, you hardy people of Alberta, Ontario and Yukon! Yes, Canada is cold in the winter, and we love it here. AND, we moved to the coast because it is the best weather Canada offers, even at minus 6 and snowing .

So – quit laughing at us! We are safe and home. This is our version of snowmageddon and as soon as we get out of bed — we will rebuild.

thehelpofnohelp

by Jan

Looking for things to do each day has never been a challenge.

However, when I read about a local group, who are trying to help the critters of Australia.  I knew I could participate.

Some locals are heading down under and offered to take supplies. So a call was put out for crafty people to make, from specific patterns, blankets, wraps and pouches for kangaroos, bats, and koalas, that are hurt or suffering.

I have fabric and at times can read instructions — so I made a dozen bat wraps, and a few kangaroo pouches yesterday. I delivered them last night to a woman organizing all this in Sechelt.

She told she is blown away by the generous spirit of people on the coast wanting to help.

People are knitting, sewing and writing cheques. Others are organizing this help and getting the help to the appropriate places in Australia.

Then, I read in the news this morning, the people down under are asking people to STOP sending stuff! That most of it is being thrown away. There are not enough people to handle it all. The help is no help, and is being wasted.

Then I see a photo of a dozen baby kangaroos, all snuggled into little pouches that were made by well meaning people like myself. I see photos of sweet little bats all wrapped up in calico, and koalas wearing knitted mitts protecting their burns paws.

Stop – Don’t stop! Help – but not like that — like this. We need more of this and less of that.

Send money. Send money. Send money. But… NOT to them, to these other guys!

The back and forth of what to do and what not to do is overwhelming. And Sechelt is only one small community of people wanting to help. I think the crafty people of Toronto and Paris are also wanting to do what they can.

I cannot imagine the chaos of actually being in Australia right now. I know people and animals need help and money and, and, and, and.

I thought in a small way that I could help. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t.

I do know folks from this coast are going to Australia at the end of next week. They are taking with them not only money, but wraps, blankets, mitts and pouches. All made with love by well meaning people. I hope nothing is for nothing.

Really, we’re just walking each other home.