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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.

lingerandloiter

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!

awalkinthewoods

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 ……”

Woot-woot!
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!

dieinordiefor

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.

Damit!

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

Damit!

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!

Damit!

Akimbo

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.

Onwego

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.

Enough.

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.

notroutine

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.

talkingtomyself

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.

sinceyouasked

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.

Adayatcamp

by Jan

They say the happiest place in the world is Disneyland. I disagree — my happy place is at camp with a great instructor!

Ken and I just returned from a workshop, or what I call, day camp. We had a ball.

I’ve been to a million workshops. I’ve taught a few as well. Being able to spend hours in a learning mindset with great guidance is well… just the best.

“Diving into Watercolours” with the fabulous Jess Rice, was as they say, “All that and a bag of chips!”

I don’t think anyone paid attention to the date of the workshop when it was announced. I can tell you, we were not exactly thrilled when we discovered we’d be traveling with BC Ferries on a holiday weekend — and yet… we had some of the best ferry luck possible. Besides making the boats we’d hoped for – we were treated to Orcas, playing along side the ferry on the way home.

Our doggy Boze, had a day camp experience as well, staying with Auntie Sarah and MayLynn. I know she was immersed into some long walks, snuggles and special attention as well. She is a lucky puppy, and we are lucky that she has a great place to stay, when we take off on our own adventures.

In true Jan Parker fashion, we stayed the night before the workshop at the teachers house! We were treated to good food and conversation, as well as a lovely walk along the boardwalk in White Rock. What a busy and growing place that is.

Spending time with Jess and his partner Angelo is more than inspiring. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again — we are lucky in our friends.

Thirteen or 14 people came to the workshop. The skill level was impressive, placing Ken and I as the rank beginners of the crowd. Yet at the end of the day, when all the paintings were hung on the wall for admiration — no one would have guessed!

Below is my second painting. My first is the one second from the right on the top row.

A great instructor makes the years and years of their personal training, lessons and practice look easy and seamless. The are able to share their skill, and meet each student exactly where they are, then push a bit.

Jess is just this type of instructor, and a pleasure to work with. His partner Angelo, is also skilled and was super helpful as well.

They knew just when to remind me to breathe, be bold, or take a break. My ego got so involved at times, that I almost forgot — I was painting flowers; not learning life threatening, rocket surgery.

I have more enthusiasm than talent, when it comes to the joy of painting. Yet, thanks to the years of study, I spent with the martial arts, I do know how to learn!

I know I need lessons, a good instructor, and lots of practice. Toss in a day long workshop, a private lesson or a week at camp, and progress is assured!

I’mlistening

by Jan

It’s book report time.

Today I’m reporting on the audibles I’ve been spending time with.

I like to choose big fat, classic books to listen to. Books I think, most read in college, or high school, but if you are like me… waited until retirement, so I could sit back, and let someone else do the heavy lifting.

I am now quite happy to seek out super big book, with hours and hours of listening pleasure.

The Complete Adventure of Sherlock Holmes was over 80 hours long. I was able to work on several quilts with Sherlock at the helm.

The last two books I gave a listen to, have been super long as well. And they were similar to each other in many ways.

I admit, even after hours and hours of listening, I did not really follow or figure out what either was about.

The first, Kristin Lavansdatter by Sigrid Undset was 45 hours long. I can honestly say, if I saw this at the library, I would give it a big pass, but, for listening, I thought it may be a good one to dig into.

Yeah, not so much.

The story of a Norwegian woman living in the 14th century with relationship conflicts who finds escape in the church.

Really? In a way it reminded me of Little Women. Life while hardly easy, was in many ways so simple. Still, as with most of us, life’s struggles are real. Everyone does their best to figure out, who we are and how we spend our days.

Still, most of the time when I was listening to Kristin Lavansdatter, I was put into a delightful, meditative state by the reader. Yet because of that, I have no idea if this book was interesting or not. Note – do not listen to this book while driving!

Once finished, I turned my attention to the 35.5 hours long, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

Yikes, same thing. Hours and hours and hours of…. relationship drama with the reader doing everything she could not to put me to sleep.

The parts I did enjoy were the debates between brothers, about society. I see how not much has changed politically since Tolstoy wrote this in eighteen seventy something. The same goes for Kristin Lavansdatter in the 14th century. Basically, the rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to have children, and the belief in God, controls and fucks everyone up.

Nevertheless – I persisted. Now I can say, “Yes, I read that.” And also, “No, I really still have no idea what they were about.”

I also listened to the much shorter book, Run, Hide, Repeat by Pauline Dakin, and loved it! This is the crazy true story of a woman raised by a man with an undiagnosed mental illness. Five stars and holy moly!

Now, I’m on to The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. The reader is wonderful and the story is adventurous. This is a great story to have on while sewing.

If I think about it, (which I do) all of these books are basically the same. The difference is in the nouns, and the details of life, and writing styles are different.

As my brother Art says, “Everybody is different.” And I’m grateful I’m me!