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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

I love to read and have always struggled with the challenge. Being dyslexic, I’m a slow reader, and need to focus with comprehension and other big words!

Still, I persist. I am proud to say I’ve read close to a book a week for a long time now.

Yet, last night I was discouraged and tossed the book I was struggling with on the floor. I started to feel about as stupid as they come… again.

First off, I know I’m not stupid. And this has happened to me before, so I should have caught on sooner.

Tiger Tiger by Johanna Skibsrud, begins with a sci-fi theme, and while not my favourite genre, I know, anything can happen with the imagination, so I went on the ride.

I like how Johanna turns a phrase, but before I knew it, she lost the tiger, and took me to a seniors home and a fake wedding — and I thought, well…. maybe they are looking back and it’s from a senile old lady’s point of view, then everything really went wonky … uhm… is that her son, his lover, what happen to the tiger? What the heck. I kept going…

Finally, I admitted to Ken, that after 142 pages, I had no fucking idea what the book I was reading was about… I just couldn’t follow.

Then I remembered having this exact same feeling a few years ago.

I don’t judge books by their cover, but I do like to choose them at the library that way. A cool cover design gets my library card every time.  Yet, after feeling so stupid and confused last night, I now realize… I need to add to this  criteriaal and start reading the jacket covers; at least I need to read the blurb about what I’m getting myself into…

Or, better yet, let me take away from self responsibility for my actions… and suggest the library — put the stupid collections of “Short Stories” on their own stupid shelf!

Then maybe, I won’t feel so stupid, when I figure out, that I’m once again, I’m not reading a stupid novel.

There’s the common thread!


by Jan

I grew up with a woman named Jan Warner and yesterday, I heard she died.

Jan and I got into a lot of trouble together when we were younger. I remember hanging out in her bedroom, smoking and drinking, and once we sniffed glue.

Jan had a shitty home life, a horrid step-mother, and easy access to booze. Jan wore a lot makeup, and wore the coolest hip hugger jeans. It seemed to me that she knew about “stuff” way before I seemed to know about “stuff.”

Her brother was the first person I ever knew who overdosed on heroin.

Jan and I went our separate ways in high school and when I left Dodge, I didn’t think about her much.

I saw her at our 10th high school reunion, and she offered me coke, in the bathroom of the restaurant we all were at.

At our 20th high school reunion, she gave me holy hell when she heard I was sober. She yelled at me that I had not been loyal to her, told me to fuck off, and that I was no longer fun and I should have stayed in touch her.

I never saw her again. I did hear stories though.

I heard Jan never did quit drinking. I heard yesterday that booze won. I was not surprised to hear of her death, but was surprised at how sad I felt after I hearing it.

I think about my life without booze — and her life with it.

How different our lives turned out even though we had somewhat similar beginning.

As far as I know, she never left Los Alamos. The last time I was there, I saw her picture in the paper for drunk driving and I heard she had been caught stealing from the grocery store.

One friend said, Jan never had a chance.

I don’t know. Maybe she was never offered one. Maybe she had and took more chances than any of us know. No matter — she is dead now. Addiction claimed another one.

Once again, still and forever, I am grateful for my life and that I took the chance offered me.

On we go. It smells like rain today, did I say, I’m grateful?
Yes, ma’am, I sure am.


by Jan

Remember when we thought anyone over 30 was old? Yeah, that mindset has changed!

Ken’s 72nd birthday is tomorrow, and while I have not shared all 72 years with him – I have been with him for more than half his life.

Getting older is funny, and truth be told, I’m the one who gets nervous when Ken climbs on the roof, to clean the chimney now. And, it’s me, that wants to hire young men to do the heavy lifting. I’m the one yelling at children to get off my lawn, and It’s me that wants to sit on the deck, take it easy, and not rush into anything. Perhaps — it’s me, and not Ken that is getting old.

Living with Ken has been my great joy. Together, we’ve built a good life, and almost every day, we mention how time flies by. Very often we wonder what the heck we did all day!

Then, I thought of a paragraph from one of my all time favourite books, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

The first time I read it – I remember saying – I aspire!

In my favourite passages, our hero Milo is on a bit of a journey. He is heading for Dictionopolis, and as he passes through Expectations, he lands in the Doldrums where the Lethargarians hang out.

When Milo asks what they do in the Doldrums each day a schedule is put forth. I’m not saying we’re lazy, but this schedule is one Ken and I do enjoy — it is no wonder time flies by.

“There’s lots to do; we have a very busy schedule——
At 8 o’clock we get up, then we spend
From 8 to 9 day dreaming.
From 9 to 9:30 we take our early midmorning nap.
From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay.
From 10:30 to 11:30 we take our late early morning nap.
From 11 to 12:00 we bide our time and then eat lunch.
From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter.
From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap.
From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off tomorrow what we could have done today.
From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap.
From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner.
From 6:00 to 7:00 we dillydally.
From 7:00 to 8:00 we take our early evening nap, and then for an hour before we go to bed at 9:00 we waste time.
As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stopped to think or laugh, we’d never get anything done.”

Happy Birthday sweetie. I love you. No, don’t get up, I’ve got this!


by Jan

Years ago, (my favourite way to start a story) at my first PAWMA camp, I made the decision to specifically become friends with Allyson, Debbie, Deb and Anne.

Those four women were the camp organizers, and I saw how cool they were. I also remember thinking during the demo, that I would do my best, to become their friend.

I’m happy to say, it worked out! Today, these women are indeed my friends. I may even be bold enough to say that they are some of my best friends.

That’s just one example, of ask for what you want in life — you just might get it!

Last year, I mentioned I’d like to find a hiking partner.

There are so many trails on the coast and so many beautiful places to explore. I’m keen to see them, but, I’m also too chicken to go alone.

I love walking alone, but for some places, it is better to have a pal. First off — my sense of direction is not the greatest, and I’m not interested in running into any BC wildlife up close. Also, I can only imagine that turning an ankle on one of these trails to be… well, a real pain.

Of course, there are several hiking groups on the coast. I could and have join them at times, but I find I am more interested in a one on one hiking buddy.

If I was able to choose the perfect hiking partner … honestly last year, I thought, if I could, I would choose Becky Wayte.

She literally created a map, and an app on hiking trails on the coast and seems to go out hiking everyday.

If you are on Facebook, you’ve seen photos from the pages of Sunshine Coast Trails. Becky Wayte is the taker of these photos and they are magnificent. Some of you receive Sunshine Coast calendars each Christmas. These are from Becky.

Last week, I went on my first hike with Becky and yesterday, my second.

We went to Grey Falls in the Hidden Grove area, up the inlet yesterday. At times it was a a challenging hike, but I kept did well to keep up.

I will say I’m not as adventurous as Becky. For example, I was happy to sit and wait on a rock looking down on the water fall, rather than to go with Becky, down a super steep cliff for a “better” view. I also gave fair warning that that I would not be able to save her if she did fall. She was okay with that. 🙂

However, just like Becky’s three little doggies, with few exceptions, I am quite happy to follow her up, and down, around, over, and in and out any path she wants to take me on … as best I can.

I’m not counting any chickens before they are hatched, still I was delighted when I heard Becky say, “Next time, we could go to ……”

Ask for what you want — you just might get it! Now, excuse me while I go sit in the hot tub — my legs are killing me!


by Jan

One thing Sandie and I like to do when we get together is snoop. We enjoy going to open houses— we check out fancy condos, and admire other peoples views and explore different neighbourhoods.

Sandie is a curious woman, and can ask questions of anybody and anyplace. I’m just as happy to poke around and leave.

Anyway, we went to a show house at a development in West Sechelt the other day. We met the realtor, Len. Sechelt is a somewhat small town, and I’ve seen his real estate signs around. His name was familiar to me. A nice enough man, he is a shaker and a mover in the business, and dare I say, a typical a real estate sales person, as in keep your hand on your wallet, as he’s got a deal for you!

So, as we poked around this one place, I casually mentioned, that someday, my husband and I would be looking for a one story house with a killer view, but it had to be under the million dollar mark. I just knew he would laugh at me and say good luck. It is Sechelt after all.

Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of house in Sechelt for under a million — but to get the killer view — nope. Also, in order to get the view, I’m talking about, you need either a two story house, or water front, and much more than a million bucks.

But… instead of laughing at me, Len said he had just the place for us, and if we gave him 10 minutes, he could show us.

Being the nosey Parkers, Sandie and I agreed right away. Like I said, we love looking at other peoples places.


Len showed us my friggen dream house! It ticks all the boxes. One story, KILLER view, and yes, it is under a million dollars.


Now, let me just say this – Ken and I love where we live now. Our house is wonderful, and the view we have is good. We like it here. A lot. We have no intention of moving any time soon.

And, while, I doubt our Samron Rd. house, will be the house we will die in, I will totally exaggerate now, and say, I just found the house I could die for!



by Jan

My best friend is visiting.

Sandie and I met in 1977, and honestly we’ve been the best of friends ever since that first day we shook hands, in a laundry mat, in Grove, Oklahoma.

Both of us have a lot of good friends in our lives still, if you are lucky, you have that one BFF you can count on. Oprah has Galye, Kim has Alison, Marian has Jillian and on we go – I have Sandie and she has me!

We were 21 years old when we met, and it wasn’t long before I moved away.

The friendship could have ended for lack of attention many times. I credit Sandie for the fact that it didn’t.

Sandie knows how to be a friend and has taught me well.

It’s easy — pay attention, make an effort, and give a shit!

Sandie and I are different in many ways, and apparently, how we stand is not one of them! In fact we have so many similarities that we are often taken for sisters. We can finish each others sentences, and a look, or a laugh communicates more clearly than any word in any language could.

Sandie is the reason, I have a good many friends. Like I said, she taught me by example, and I am grateful.


by Jan

Where do I begin?

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. It’s obvious that I’m not writing.

Still life moves on, shit happens. We go places, do things and meet people. Things change and everything is the same. And, right now, writing stories seems a bit silly to me.

You see, over the last few months, I went on another cleaning and sorting jag. I get on these every once in a while and I start in one room and move to another, sorting, clearing, tossing and purging.

This time, I went under the stairs. This small room is really the only “storage” area we have in this house besides bedroom closets. Under the stairs is where we keep Christmas decorations, and suitcases. I also found two big boxes full of old notebooks.

One box was full of martial arts notes. FULL. The other box was full of personal journals. FULL.

I started to go through these and was blown away by my redundancy. Bla, bla, bla…. Year after year, I wrote basically the same thing in both sets of notebooks.

In the tai chi notebooks, the instruction to relax came up more than once. I was also amazed at how often “modes of attention” were mentioned.

In my personal journals, wanting to lose 10 pounds was the top topic, and striving to be better, and different from how I am was front and centre. OMG! Enough!

It was super easy for me to decide nothing in the personal journals needed to be saved. I got the paper shredder out and burn through notebook after notebook. Once in a while, an interesting story showed itself, but who cared? Into the shredder everything went.

With the martial arts notebooks – I thought it would be cool to take a lesson from my niece who made a collage out of old letters, Ken and I had written to his parents for over 30 years. We have this work of art on our wall and in my mind, I saw another work of art on the wall with years and years of notes, from years and years of classes and workshops.

I started cutting and gluing, then all of a sudden I was shredding, and burning all these notes as well.


I realize, writing for me serves a purpose in the present.

Nothing makes much sense looking back. Oh, sure a spark of a memory is fun. Certain stories bring smiles, a few brought tears, but for the most part, what is done is done.

So, as I let go of notebook after notebook, it didn’t make any sense to me to fill up any more books, and I stopped writing altogether. (The exception, being letters and cards and emails to friends.)

I know this bloggy thing used to be read by a few people. But, now that it’s been months since I wrote anything, I know folks have quit checking it.

As I’ve come to understand, writing for me to sort shit out as I do it. Write and move on. Especially, if I write the same stupid thing again and again. And by the way, I still haven’t lost those 10 stupid pounds, I wrote that I wanted to lose in 1985, 1995, 2005 and 2015.

I could write more interesting stories — to what end, I don’t know.

Writing would help me process my feelings about the death of our sweet doggy Boze, or share the joy I had in watching Ken launch Cricket, the cool boat he made. Maybe I could/should write about the bear I saw, or the interesting book I read, or the cool quilt I made, or the paintings that challenge and frustrate me, or the company we’ve had.

And maybe I will, time will tell.

Writing on the computer instead of in a notebook certainly takes up less space and the the delete button is so close.

I know this JamJimjam page is a gift.

I don’t remember the motto I chose for 2018 – but “On We Go” is fitting right now.


by Jan

Most days when I wake up, I spend time in what Ken calls “the simmering spot.” I don’t jump out out of bed. I lie there for quite a while. I listen to the birds, look out the window, and think of the day ahead.

The first thing I do, is figure out what day it is.

I’ll talk to myself (for example), and say, it’s Monday – get the recycle out. Or, it’s Thursday – Patti comes and today is fitness class.

Being retired without a schedule, it is easy for me to spend the entire day at the sewing machine, unless I remember other life events.

I’m not saying my life is boring – I’m saying I thrive on boredom, and need to remind myself that there are particular things to do on any given day.

For example — today is Friday.
First thing on the list is to remember, it is garbage pick up day. So we need to get the weeks trash out to the curb. Friday is also the day Boze gets her weekly medication, so we don’t have to re-name her Princess Pee Pants.

I usually swim on Fridays as well, and the weekly paper comes. Friday is a big day!

Today however, we are doing something out of the norm.

I have a suitcase packed, and we’re taking the ferry to the big city for the night.

Tomorrow morning, Ken will drop me at the airport and I’ll travel to Vegas, via San Francisco to see Art again.

Art is having surgery on Monday and I’m hoping I can help. I admit to being nervous so, I am doing my best to stay present and will focus on doing the next right thing.

I can let my imagination get a little carried away and that is no good for anyone, especially me!

So — first things first, and easy does it.

Today is Friday – garbage day, and Boze gets her pill.


by Jan

One thing I like most about swimming is the true meditative quality it offers.

Wearing the full face snorkel gives me a certain amount of anonymity. Talking to others is hard. Plus by wearing it, it looks like I’m at the pool for business and not socializing.

I get in the pool and swim, I talk only to myself. Okay, when I leave, I say- Good-bye to Andrew, the guy who works the front desk.

I’m still not a great swimmer, but it is becoming more enjoyable, or should I say more satisfying.

When I get out of the pool, I am usually bone tired and I realize, I really love that feeling.

I recover from the swim fairly quickly, as far as getting my heart rate back to normal, this bone tiredness is different. It takes me some time to get moving again. When I finish swimming, I am wasted and totally pooped out. Jenny said, I’m building endurance.

I started swimming in January. So far, I’ve been consistent in showing up three times each week.

I find when I first get in the pool, I spend a lot of mental energy worried that someone else will get in “my” lane. It’s silly. I scold myself for wasting the time I am alone. I don’t like sharing, but usually have to at some point in the swim. I only stop worrying it might happen, when it finally happens. Then… I settle in.

Ken helped me solve my stress of swimming with others. He gave me the advice that boating people us.

Stay your speed and course!

There are times, I liken lap swimming to driving a car, on a highway. Some folks want to pass and change lanes at every chance, they speed up or slow down, willy-nilly. Some people tailgate, and of course there are the super slow pokes, who still won’t let you around, and you just want to honk at them.

Now, while I’m not the slowest swimmer out there, I do fall into the slow poke category. I may be slow, but I’m steady — no one needs to honk!

Sharing a lane is easy when everyone stays on course, and maintains whatever speed they are going. I now know how to pass a fellow swimmer, just as I know what to do when being passed. Being consistent is key.

The meditative quality of swimming, is a bit of a by-product of the sport and not one I was looking for. Having awareness of breath, counting lengths, (which is not as easy as it sounds) and staying as relaxed as possible with each stroke I take, takes me deep inside myself.

The full face snorkel is a bit of an echo chamber — I hear every sound I make. My breath is loud.

With Tai Chi, I was encouraged to have a more of a soundless breath. Specific breath practices aside, hearing ones own breath was rare. Except, of course when Jim, Art or Ed had me in a crunch, then everyone could hear my gasps.

With swimming, I make a lot of noise with my breath. I don’t hear or listen to much of anything else. I’m glad I keep my head down and covered, so outside sounds are muffled. I am left to listen to myself. I don’t hear the music, conversations, or screaming children that are also at the pool.

Counting lengths keeps me on track and present too. I say a number to myself, at the end of every 25 metres. Sometimes I lose count, so I alwasy swim two extra lengths, just for good measure.

I’m now able to swim 66 lengths on a regular basis. I set the bar low for 40, and feel like a super hero when I surpass it. Sixty-six lengths is a mile at our pool — my best time is 57 minutes.

Swimming is still weird for me. I carry “pool baggage” being a Hudson after all. Yet, I am starting to like it.

There have been some interesting adventures so far. Like sneezing with the snorkel on, or the time I got a nose bleed and didn’t realize my face was covered with blood until I took a break. (Don’t worry, I didn’t contaminate the pool)

When I swim, I always give a mental nod to friends that I know are regular swimmers as well.

They all give me good advice and encouragement. So, here’s a quick shout out to Jess, Angelo, Marsha, and of course Jenny, who I report to on a regular basis, and proudly call coach.

Swimming pushes me. It’s not technically an internal art, but… yeah, never mind… it totally is.


by Jan

Someone asked me what I think of the Facebook drama.
Well, I’ll tell you.

I know very little of the details of trouble that Facebook is in. I don’t watch the news and I do not get my news off FB. I will say, I enjoy Facebook and the chance of me deleting my account is slim.

I think Mark Zuckerberg is a powerful, genius, and never in his wildest dreams, thought FB would be the end all — be all of a zillion peoples lives, yet it seems to be.

I also see how bad guys would want a cut of it; how it could be used for ill purpose. I may be naive, but I do not think Zuckerberg is a bad guy, and I for one — am happy with my interaction on FaceBook.

My friends Samm and Ben Cooper told me years ago, how much I would love Facebook, but it wasn’t until I was visiting Jim and heather in Oregon that I actually got an account.

I was given certain guidelines with the platform, and I’ve taken them to heart. I also made a few “rules” of my own.

First off-

I am only friends with actual real life friends. I do have two “friends” on FB that I’ve never met, and only a handful of acquaintances. So far, they play nice and are interesting.

Right now, I have about 120 friend requests sitting in “purgatory.” I don’t deny a request – I ignore it — by doing so, I make the person sending the request impotent. They have zero access to me when I do this.

I belong to a FB quilting group, and a watercolour painting, and spinning group. These are great places to get ideas and inspiration. I mostly lurk. I also belong to a Sechelt buy and sell group, and one that gives latest info of what’s happening on the coast. I don’t play games on FB and don’t take surveys.

I’m also glad FB has a delete button and I use it often.

I am not very open minded on FB. If you’re an asshole, I delete you. If you are racist or mean, I delete you. The only exception I have is with one cousin. Mostly I shake my head  at his posts, and wonder how he got so mean. I do interact if he posts a photo of food, or talks of his vacation with his wife. (I keep it shallow.)

Actually, I keep all of FB as shallow as possible. I do my best not get into heavy discussions or debates – I like it fun. And because, I only have good friends in my feed, I am rarely shown the anonymous cruelty, the inter-web is famous for. I easily scroll past the Jesus loves me posts, as well as, those with animal cruelty or “super cute” children. Political, and environmental posts are harder to stay out of, but I try.

Facebook makes it possible for me to stay in touch with friends who live all around the world. I love it. I love to seeing photos, and knowing the goings on of what my friends and their dogs are doing. I’m in touch with PAWMA friends, high school classmates, tai chi classmates and students. FB helps me stay in touch with friends I love, yet rarely see.

Facebook made it possible for me to meet my step-brother John for the first time ever. He’s since deleted his account, and now we have no interaction — I miss him, but take comfort in knowing, he knows where I am. He can find me if he wants to.

I’ve said it a million times, I keep FB fun and shallow. Contest time is loads of fun for me. Posting photos of thechurchoftheholysunrise, TBT photos of the Hudson kids, and showing public gratitude for my husband, sobriety and memories is just plain nice.

Anything posted on the inter-web is public and “they” do know all about me. Leaving FB won’t change that if I continue to use the inter-web. For example, I googled a recipe for lemon squares, and in no time at all, ads started popping up for all types of kitchen goodies and diet plans. I looked into airplane tickets to visit Art, and am inundated with ads for Vegas and shows. I post something about swimming and I know where bathing suit are on sale.

I get it. There are no secrets, and with that knowledge – I’m staying on FB.

I hope my friends do too – I’d miss them if they left. I’d understand and could/would resort to writing old school letters or using the telephone, rather than lose touch.

Another good thing about Facebook being public, is I can say #trumpyoufucker and not a care a hoot who knows my view.