Category Archives: rambles

2023 in Review

by Jan

2023 in Review
So, here we go again…My Sisyphean life up for review! I will say, for the most part, 2023 was a good year. Ken and I are happy, healthy and grateful.

The Year in Review in simple question and answer form.

What did you do in 2023 that you’ve never done before?
Pilates
Shared High Tea at the Empress Hotel
Joined the board of directors of our local quilt guild as Vice President.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions/motto, and will you make more for next year?
No resolutions to speak of. I do have a few goals in mind for 2024. I’d like to get our affairs in order, actually they are in order, but could use an update.
The motto of Do Good stands well with me.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends got more grandchildren.

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. And sadly, this list is only going to get longer each year as we get older. In 2023 family, friends, teachers, friends of ole and spouses of friends died.
Let me say their names.
Ron Parker
Lloyd Zeust
Robert Peters
Diane Kehoe
Larry Loucks
Wen-Mei Yu
Kathy Keenan
Richard Granada
Theresa Smith
Deb Hopson
Janice Skeels

And some good dogs died as well.
MuMu, Purty, Bonsai, Ruby, Roxo, Henri, Suki, Honey, Maggie, Browzee

What countries did you visit?
The better question is did I leave the coast? And the answer is YES! Four times!
I flew on a seaplane and vacationed in Victoria with Andrea.
I was a guest at Marian’s birthday party on Bowen Island.
Ken and I drove into Vancouver. It took nine hours and we went to one store!
I attended my 50th High School Reunion in New Mexico, with a stop in Las Vegas to visit Art, Mittens, and the Isola Peak Ave. gang.

What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2023?
I don’t lack much – anything I do miss out on is because I get lazy or my being an introvert kicks in and I’d rather stay home.

What events from 2023 will remain etched upon your memory?
Our dog MuMu was fine and then dead a mere 3 hours later. Her death shocked us with zero prep. I know we all think we would like to die that way, but it really sucks for those left behind.
Going to my high school reunion was great fun and dancing with my childhood friend Dorcas while we caught up was a real highlight. Almost running into a bear with Trina was exciting, hiking with Susie and Aspen was delightful. Talking story with Clevenger and Zelinski was just grand. I was really glad I went.
Also, anytime spent with my brother Art is good.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don’t set out to achieve – However, I do keep count.
I read 43 books and listened to 75.
Hiked 1740 km most of them solo or with MuMu.
I kept my girlish figure, within a pound or two all year.
Gave away 13 quilts as “random acts of fabric” and continue to raise money for our food bank selling and sewing tote bags.
I can bake a mean loaf of bread now.
I continue to take painting lessons with Jess Rice and see I’m slowly making progress!

What was your biggest failure?
Happily nothing comes to mind too quickly.
I was totally surprised when I was shown a particular Pilates move, then when I tried it – I was flabbergasted that I couldn’t even come close to performing it! (I used to have a smarter body).

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Gratefully, Ken and I are well and healthy.
We have aches and pains that come with the luxury of age.
We both had colds this year and are still in the “not yet” category when it comes to Covid.
I have a jar of CBD cream on my counter that helps a lot with the chronic pain and noise from old injuries.

What was the best thing you bought?
Sandy’s Bakery in Gibsons has these peanut butter and chocolate cookies that are worth mentioning.
Ken bought a fancy new lathe
I got new hiking boots.
We have a full wood shed and a freezer full of food.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Flo Lindsey, Tammy Totman, Art Hudson, Jess Rice, Anna Michael, Kathy Granger, Allyson Appen, Trina Raper, Mike Clevenger, Kas Sears, Gary Worrell, and of course my BFF Sandie Moss!
I continue to cheer the everyday actions of my husband Ken.

Whose behaviour appalled you?
You know who you are… (and are probably not reading this!)

Where did most of your money go?
We are fortunate to be able to say most of our money goes towards making life easier for ourselves and others.

What did you get really excited about?
Eating New Mexican green chile for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Biscochitos, and Christmas cookies!
Writing to pen pals and dancing with old friends.
Spending hours alone in the woods.
Receiving letters and packages in the mail.

What song will always remind you of 2023?
Hey Baby (they’re playing our song).

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?  I’m still in my self-imposed weight range.
iii. richer or poorer?  Richer in all ways that matter.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Great question. I tend to do what I want.
Off the top of my head I wish I had eaten more cheese.

Did you fall in love in 2023?
Ken has my heart. Our life together is good. We celebrated 40 years of marital bliss this year.

What was your favourite TV program?
I record TV shows, then fast forward through them. I finally got around to watching The Office.(meh) I like Annika, Silent Witness and Midsomer Murders.

Have you let go of any resentment or have a regret you cling to?
I continue to resent selfish, stingy and narcissistic people in general, Specifically, I’m done. Not mad, not bothered, just done.
I still regret never learning how to make tamales.

What was the best book you read?
I read a lot this year – a few favorites were:
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
Riding the Lightning by Anthony Almojera
Ducks by Kate Beaton
Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel
Women and Power by Mary Beard
Fayne by Ann Marie Macdonald
The Five Wounds by Kristen Valdez Quade
The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister
The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
Hotline by Dmitri Nasrallah

What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
I’m not very adventurous when it comes to music and go days without listening to it. However one of my paintings was used for the cover on the latest CD for the Art Hudson Band!
I do like hearing Ken sing when he plays guitar.
Playing music trivia with Art Hudson is beyond fun!

What did you want and get?
New Mexico green chile.
Time spent with old friends, including a reunion with six friends who were in the same kindergarten class as me!
Thirty-friggen-nine years of sobriety!

What did you want and not get?
Drunk
New furniture for the living room. (we tried, but “supply chain” issues.
Evening snacks!
I’m still on the hunt for a new ironing board cover that fits my ironing board.

What was your favourite film of this year?
I think the only film I saw this year was Oppenheimer. I’m glad I read the book American Prometheus and also knew the story from growing up in Los Alamos. I was disappointed they filmed it near Abiquiu and not up on the hill.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 68 on May 20. I got a lot of attention, cards, cake and a bird bath for the yard, plus I went for a hike! It was a good day.

What one thing made the year immeasurably more satisfying?
One thing – dancing with Dorcas!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2023?
I continue to literally wear the same ole, same ole.

What political issue stirred you the most?
I stir easily. It’s best for me to keep my head down.
Yes, I know my privilege.

Who and what did you miss?
Who I miss –
My friend Kas moved off the coast and took her dogs Oliver and Rodney. I miss them.
I miss hanging out and laughing with Art and his silly kitty Mittens.
I miss MuMu
I miss having a cat
I still miss my mom, Kim, and Patti.

What did I miss?
Not much. However, please remember when dealing with your introverted friends… We may not go, but we still want to be asked!

Who was the best new person you met?
Shelly Elston.
Shelly lives in the neighbourhood and we’ve seen her walk her dog Ava. This year, Ken made a table for her and in trade she offered cookies and a few Pilate’s classes. Well, I fell in awe of her skill, knowledge and humor and I signed up for regular Pilates lessons now.
A shout out also goes to Cheryl, Glenn and Teresa.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023.
It’s not that hard to be kind or generous.
A small gift is never inappropriate
Take joy in the minutia of a day. What we do daily will determine how we look back on our life.
If your friend writes a book – buy it!
We never finish grieving the death of a loved one. We learn to live without them and it sucks.

What happens when you die?
First off, the people who love me, will cry and miss me. Then hopefully they will come and clean out my stuff.

On we go, with love

 

fortystrong

by Jan
I hope you like a good playlist. 40 years ago today in a meadow in the Rocky Mountains near Manitou Springs, CO. people gathered and to hear Ken play and sing the following songs:
Someday Soon by Judy Collins
Devoted by The Everly Brothers
Coat from the cold by Jerry Jeff Walker

There wasn’t a dry eye in the field. Well, except Ken’s mom who said what kind of song is that Jerry Jeff Walker one? Singing about booze and floozies! And my mom who was wearing high heels said, well it isn’t too bad for a hippy wedding.

I am absolutely gobsmacked that 40 years have flown by so easily. We have travelled a fun road. I can honestly say our bumps have been few, and laughter has been our guiding light.

We agreed early to “be nice” and to be on each other’s side, always. I realized he doesn’t have to love me. We do not have unconditional love. We are responsible for our own actions and need to make ourselves easy to love.

I am grateful and I am fortunate.

We both had first marriages and learned what not to do and how not to do it. They say, a better woman would have got a better man… but you and I both know – I did as good as I could! Whew!
I had no idea that first night he visited Albuquerque and he took me and Karen out to dinner and Karen leaned over to me and said, be nice to him, he is paying, that we would be living together in Colorado in less than a month’s time.

I went to visit him a week later for his birthday and we had a great time. We also threw every piece of history and garbage we had in our past at each other! Spilled everything and for every whack of shit – we would wipe our face and say, “I can live with that.” (BTW I did not quit drinking for another two years from that weekend!)

So I went back to NM and packed up my stuff and dog and my friend Jerry drove me to Colorado and we moved in. Of course Jerry stayed a week to make sure I was “safe”. Ken’s friends were aghast and said, Ken is too wise to make a lifetime commitment based on a weekend experience.

Ken said, It was a good weekend!

We’ve had a good life together and while I never took to the leash – I’ve been happily tethered to Ken Parker ever since!

On we go!
Toot toot us!

thehabitofhome

by Jan

thehabitofhome

January 1st, 2023 by Jan

It’s New Years Day 2023.

I posted my year in review questionnaire yesterday and as I re-read it I realize how repetitive it was from last year and the year before!

I joke that Sisyphus was basically a happy man — doing the same thing over and over again, day in and day out, only because the same ole tends to suit me.  I like a routine, a rut, a ritual.

“Always and Never the Same” could be engraved on my headstone. (if I were to have one).

For the most part how I spend my time is the same, day after day. I hike different trails, read different books, eat different food, but when asked what I’m going to do – I usually say, Same ole, knowing I’ll probably read, hike, sew, cook a meal and maybe paint!

I hear you get good at what you practice — well, I’ve gotten good at enjoying the day without too much fanfare. I am happy reading, sewing, hiking, cooking and sometimes painting.

In the days before Covid, I did the same things, only there was less fear and more of a freedom to share with company, community, friends and family.

Then Covid hit the world and we were told to stay home. Stay away. Be careful — stay safe!

I struggled at times with all the restrictions. I was both jealous of and pissed off, at the people who went on about life, socializing and traveling.

But, stay home we did, and time past. It got easier to stay home, to not entertain or have company. I was busy at home and we got very comfortable.

Ken and I are hardly that couple who are joined at the hip, yet we like being together. We are homebodies, introverts, and being retired, we know we can spend the day doing anything we want. So, we do.

We also check in with each other often.

Ken will ask, Are you doing okay?
And, if he goes somewhere he will ask if I want to go as well. Sometimes I ride with him to the building centre and wait in the car for him to get whatever. Often, I say, no.

And, I would ask Ken, do you want to come with me on this chore or join me for a walk? Nope, he would say. However, he often offers to drive, to drop me at a trail head or pick me up at the end of one. He’ll be the one to waits in the car while I go into a store.

The only place I dally now is in the woods. The days of looking around a store, picking shit up and putting it back down are over.

At first it wasn’t so hard as it was different. We were all in the same storm. Now four years in, we are practiced. The habit has been made. I’m still reading, sewing, hiking, cooking and sometimes painting. Ken stays busy as ever with all sorts of projects. That man has a to do list!

The thing is….it works for us. We are happy! We do get out and we do see friends, just not as often. We both belong to community guilds and do service work. It’s just a different comfort now. I’m in touch daily with several friends by text, email or zoom. I enjoy my social media community. I’ve developed a comfortable inner life. Being alone in the woods has become a remarkable joy.

Ken and I are comfortable with our own company and the way we spend our days. While I have no regrets, I was a bit taken back at the repetitiveness of the years review! I used to be cool!

I suppose if I wanted different, I’d do different.

I used to say the quality of your day will make up the quality of your life. I still hold strong to that truth. I also reserve the right to change my mind whenever I want.

But today, I can say I had a great day yesterday and hope to repeat it tomorrow!

2022inreview

by Jan

December 31st, 2022  by Jan

Happy New Year! Let’s do this!

Being retired, homebodies, and introverts has continued to pay off for Ken and I. We still mask up, get our shots, wash our hands. We’ve dipped our toes back in the social waters, we eat out more often, yet we are happy with our own company for the most part. We continue to count ourselves fortunate to have stayed healthy as we enter the fourth year of the pandemic. I am especially grateful for social media, penpals and Zoom.
So, here we go again…Optimism is not necessarily a symptom of insanity, Maybe it is an attempt to preserve sanity

The Year in Review in simple question and answer form.

What did you do in 2022 that you’ve never done before?
I joined a book club
I got a flu shot
Started taking daily prescription pills. (we used to do drugs, now we take pills).
I spent almost a month in 44 C degree weather.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions/motto, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t remember last years motto or if I made any resolutions.
For 2023 I’m going with Coddiwomple!
Coddiwomple is an English slang word that means to travel resolutely and dynamically toward an as-yet unknown destination. It’s not the same as wandering aimlessly. The prevailing mood is not passivity and vagueness. Rather, one who coddiwomples has a sense of purpose about what’s enjoyable and meaningful. They may not have a predetermined goal, but they know what they need and like, and that seems to suit me just fine right now.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don’t think so. Oh, Linda got another grandchild.

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, way too many. Let me say their names.

Betty Marks
Machelle Fontenot
Annie Aculiak
Tuen Shut
Richard Labonte
Gary Shipley
Tom Masich
Dale Morgan
George Zawadzki
Mike Taylor
Sid Morrell

What countries did you visit?
I went to the USA!

What would you like to have in 2023  that you lacked in 2022?
Professional haircuts

What events from 2022 will remain etched upon your memory?
The phone call from Tammy telling me of the horror and sadness of  Machelle’s death. Watching her funeral on zoom.
Caring for Art after his successful heart surgery.
The joy of hiking alone in the deep woods with MuMu.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I read 25 books and listened to 56.
Hiked 2140.45 km most of them solo and / or with MuMu.
I kept my girlish figure, within a pound or two all year.
Gave away 18 quilts, and continue to raise money for our food bank selling and sewing tote bags.

What was your biggest failure?
Getting my grandmothers 100 year old fur coat made into slippers was a big fail. However the pillows made from it are lovely and a fine success.
Sending money to the USA is all but impossible!

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Ken and I in general are well and healthy.
We have aches and pains that come with the luxury of age.
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck, and am learning to live with chronic pain. I now take daily pain pills.
The noise in my head from the injury is more subdued and I am grateful. (again, pills help).
I fell twice in the woods and bruised my hip and ego.

What was the best thing you bought?
We aren’t shoppers, and buying stuff is either boring or stressful. We are fortunate to be able to keep ourselves stocked with supplies for our hobbies. We continue to eat like kings, and we are able to share.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The people who live on Isola Peak Ave. in Las Vegas. I salute the way they came together to help my brother through his heart surgery. Special shout out to Gary, Jim, Marie, Maxine, Richard, Steve and Maryann.
Tammy Totman stands tall and brave and I love her.
Also, Sandie Moss, Patrick Visser, Jess Rice, Anna Michael, Kathy Granger, Trina Raper, Kas Sears, Dr. Julie Baxter.
My brother Art gets a special salute!
I continue to cheer the everyday actions of my husband Ken.

Whose behaviour appalled you?
You know who you are…

Where did most of your money go?
I’m grateful to be able to say most of our money went towards making life easier for ourselves and others.

What did you get really excited about?
Big trees, forest walks, bear sightings, and the beauty of the Sunshine Coast. Art gave me the tome America’s Test Kitchen and well, it is the bomb!

What song will always remind you of 2022?
The Dance sung by Garth Brooks.
Then there was the music of a saucepan and metal spoon clanging at 2 am just to keep me on my toes!

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  As happy, with a few more WTF moments loaded with grief.
ii. thinner or fatter?  At this writing I’m one pound up!
iii. richer or poorer?  Richer in joy

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had said yes more, as I want to be asked, invited and included on adventures  – yet the introvert in me knows I probably wouldn’t go. It is still nice to be asked.

Did you fall in love in 2022?
Ken has my heart. Our life together is good.
It was really nice to feel genuine sibling love for my brother.

What was your favourite TV program?
I record TV shows, then fast forward through them. I like the last 5 minutes of baking, sewing, singing, and painting competition shows.
My secret shame was getting hooked on Sister Wives! OMG!
I also watch a lot of Chicago Fire, PD and Med. (note to self – never get sick or in trouble in Chicago, but if your house catches on fire – call firehouse 51).

Have you let go of any resentment or have a regret you cling to?
I continue to resent selfish and stingy people.
I still regret never learning how type with my thumbs.

What was the best book you read?
I read a lot this year. A few faves were,
Beijing Bittersweet by Andrea Falk
Love & Saffron by Kim Fay
The Pedestriennes by Harry Hall
The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
Music is History by Questlove
It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine
I also read the biographies of Billy Porter, Willy Nelson, Elton John, and Sally Field and was surprised.

What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
After reading Questloves book, I listened to some of the rap music and musicians he talked about. I’m not very adventurous when it comes to music and can go days without listening to it.
I do like hearing Ken sing when he plays guitar.
Playing music trivia with Art Hudson is beyond fun!

What did you want and get?
The trucks that have been parked in front of our house since we moved here FINALLY left! Oh, and I got a new belt.

What did you want and not get?
Cookies and evening snacks!
Invitations
A new ironing board cover. (only because I can’t find one that fits my ironing board.)

What was your favourite film of this year?
No films were watched in a theatre. Some TV movies were seen, but none that stand out. I prefer to read.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 67 on May 20. I got a lot of attention, cards and cake and went for a hike!

What one thing made the year immeasurably more satisfying?
One thing — being able to be there for my brother when he needed it.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?
I’ll let you know when I buy new clothes. Sigh…

What political issue stirred you the most?
I stir easily. It’s best for me to keep my head down.
Is climate change political? Is Covid? Is tRump in jail yet?
Sechelt was on Stage 4 water restrictions for more than 4 months. Living in a rainforest during a drought and not having access to enough water is crazy making and sadly, political.
Don’t get me started on the US and their “supreme BS court”, abortion, republicans, or whack-a-doodle Christians.
Yes, I know my privilege.

Who and what did you miss?
Who I miss –
If you are reading this, I miss you!
I miss hanging out and laughing with Art and, his silly kitty Mittens.
I miss having a cat.
I still miss my mom and Kim.

What did I miss?
I ask that question daily!

Who was the best new person you met?
Gary Worrell hands down! He is a generous and giving man. I am forever grateful for his support and friendship!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022.
Saying life is short so we should enjoy every moment, is no excuse to eat crap, not exercise or take care of yourself.
We never finish grieving the death of a loved one. We learn to live without them and it sucks.
Being comfortable with yourself for long periods of time is grand.
It’s not that hard to be kind or generous.

What do you think happens after you die?
The people who love you, will cry and miss you.

On we go.

that’sagoodbox

by Jan

“That’s a good box.” I can hear my Grandma’s voice in those words. She was the perfect judge of a good box and for better or worse, she passed the skill on to me.

I think of my Grandma Hudson everyday for a variety of reasons. She was such a good influence in my life that almost everything reminds me of her. One great memory hits me when I cut a banana with a spoon, another is when I come across a good cardboard box. And, like Grandma, when I do, I announce it for all to hear.

That’s a good box, you should save it.

Ken and I are not moving anytime soon, yet, we have a stack of “good” moving boxes stored in the shed. I confess I also have boxes of all sizes stored in the closet and some under the bed.

I know, I know…. It doesn’t make sense. I hate clutter and sort stuff as a hobby. I love to clear out crap constantly. I love getting rid of stuff and our car usually has a bag or two full of stuff in the back that needs to be dropped off at the Sally Anne. And, yet….when I see a good box, I keep it!

Good boxes are the best!

Grandma always said, you never know when you’ll need a good box. I totally agree. One day, that good box will come in handy and I’ll be ready!  In the mean time I like remembering my Grandma and a good box allows me the pleasure.

Yearinreview2021

by Jan

2021inreview

Here we are again. Being retired, homebodies, introverts continues to pay off for Ken and I, yet as we enter the third year of this pandemic, we are weary and we know our good fortune. So, here we go…Optimism is not necessarily a symptom of insanity, maybe it is an attempt to preserve sanity

The Year in Review in simple question and answer form.

What did you do in 2021 that you’ve never done before?
Experienced a heat dome, atmospheric rivers, cyclone bombs as the climate has changed!

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2021 the motto was… Together Again. Didn’t really happen, however we had a tad more social time than the year before. For the coming year, we’ll just take it one day at time. Covid is still a topic and it totally depends on the day how much attitude I carry around.
BC has over 90% of the population vaccinated and still we go into the new year with restrictions and high rates of the illness. In 2022, my motto may be High HO Mighty, as I do ride a high horse from the safety of our home.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Kas became a Grandma to twin girls Milley and Charlie
Ed and Marsha welcomed grandbaby Otis

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, way too many. Let me name a few
Dick Rochester
Patti Brown
Peter Montgomery
Aunt Pearl
Brian Hoover
Mary Shipley
Joan Baker

Some well loved doggys died.
Maggie the Corgi
Mimi
Wookie

And people we love, lost people they loved
Joe’s brother
Michelle’s dad
Michael’s dad and uncle
Jim’s mom
heather’s mom
Hansoo’s mom
Tereasa’s mom
Cousin Art’s wife

Covid is still killing people at an alarming rate, and street drugs deaths are record breaking. This years “natural” disasters in BC killed a lot of people and animals. More than 600 people died during the heat dome for example and the effects, especially on the wildlife will continue to reverberate for years.

What countries did you visit?
Travel is still off the table for us. We only took three ferry trips off the coast, two to Bowen Island and one adventure to Powell River.

What would you like to have in 2022  that you lacked in 2021?
The comfort we held in the past to go, see, and do and join.

What events from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory?
Getting the vaccine.
Hugging a friend after keeping our distance.
Screaming through cataract surgery, (literally) and the awesome job Nurse Ken did of taking care of me.
Being able to say goodbye and I love you, to Peter in palliative care
Taking some incredible and adventurous hikes with MuMu in the woods.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I read 35 books and listened to 47.
I kept my girlish figure, within a pound or two all year.
Gave away 17 quilts, and continue to raise money for our food bank sewing tote bags, tea cozies, and potholders.
I joined the local quilt guild.
I held two babies! That makes a grand total of 4 babies held in my life time!

What was your biggest failure?
Besides some of the watercolour paintings that go sideways, I find I still ride a very high judgmental horse and have a hard time getting off it.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Ken and I are well. It was my turn for cataract surgery on both eyes. Most of my bits are in good working order with the odd, pains in my shoulder, knee and jaw.
I continue to make progress from the head injury the stupid dentist gave me a few years ago.
I fell once in the woods and only bruised my ego.
Gratefully, both Ken and I are healthy.

What was the best thing you bought?
We aren’t big shoppers, however we are able to keep ourselves well stocked in supplies for our many hobbies. We continue to eat like kings, and we are able to share our wealth.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The people who live on Isola Peak Ave. in Las Vegas. I salute the way they came together to help my brother through his hip replacement surgery. Special shout out to Gary, Jim, Maxine, and Roy.
Also, our friends Kas Sears, Patrick Visser, Jess Rice, Anna Michael, Kathy Granger, Trina Raper, Dr. Julie Baxter, and my brother Art. Salute!
I continue to cheer the everyday actions of my husband Ken.

Whose behaviour appalled you?
Anti vaxers, and those who protest in front of hospitals wearing fucking yellow stars! Are you kidding me? Just get the shot people!

Where did most of your money go?
I’m grateful to be able to say most of our money went towards food, hobbies, donations, and gifts, oh and a car muffler.

What did you get really excited about?
Getting chocolate in the mail from Hansoo and Jacqui
The big box of El Pinto and Hatch green chile my brother sent.
Eating in a restaurant.
Hugging a friend. (it all sounds so simple yet, it was all so grand!)

What song will always remind you of 2021?
A little ditty I wrote myself called,  “I’m going up and down the stairs again today!”

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  As happy, with a few more WTF moments.
ii. thinner or fatter?  At this writing I’m exactly the same!
iii. richer or poorer?  Richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I want to say socialized yet, when I had opportunity, I choose not to go.
Eating out.
I know you master what you practice, and Ken and I are very practiced in staying home and entertaining ourselves.

Did you fall in love in 2021?
Ken has my heart. I feel so fortunate that our life together is easy.
Now, while MuMu is MuMu, the dog Max, who lives down the street is… just too cute!

What was your favourite TV program?
I record TV shows, then fast forward through them. I watch only the last 10 minutes of baking, sewing, singing, and painting competition shows just to see what and who wins.
I did watch a lot of old CSI and Elementary shows.

Have you any resentments or regrets?
I resented selfish and stingy people.
I regret never learning how to make tamales.

What was the best book you read?
I read a lot this year. A few favourites:
The Invisible Life of Addie LeRue by V.E. Schwab,
Sold on a Monday by Christina Morris,
Paying the Land by Joe Sacco,
Infinate Jest by David Foster Wallace,
The Decameron Project by 29 different writers,
The Winter Rose, The Wild Rose and The Tea Rose, all by Jennifer Donnelly.
Oh and How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan! I guess I could go on and on….Oh, and, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez, and Swamp Angel by Ethel Wilson.

What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
Music is not a big part of my life. Listening to Ken sing when he plays guitar is still my joy. I will stop everything and dance or sing along if I hear any song from the 60s or Dean Martin.

What did you want and get?
I got to talk openly with my doctor, Julie Baxter about my addiction and alcoholism! It was wonderful.
I got tickets to Hamilton for a May 2022 showing (fingers crossed we get to go)

What did you want and not get?
Fries with that! Evening snacks!
Invited to join in on some adventurous hikes.

What was your favourite film of this year?
Do video painting lessons by the wonderful Jess Rice count as films?

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 66 on May 20. I had a wonderful celebration hike with several of my girlfriends. It was the first real social thing I’d done since Covid hit. We ate cake in the backyard and I wore a boa! It was grand.

What one thing made the year immeasurably more satisfying?
One thing — being double vaccinated and showing proof with a QR Vax passport.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?
Yesterday, I realized I wear dead people’s clothes: My pants belonged to Jan Daly, the scarf was Peter Montgomery’s, gloves – Kim Cox, shirt -Janice Wood, hat – Bill Hudson. Who cares what I wear? I wear the same clothes I’ve worn for years and years. I do have a new pair of hiking boots!

What political issue stirred you the most?
I stir easily. It’s best for me to keep my head down.
BC’s weather disasters have been a challenge – if only we’d been warned about this climate change shit.
The graves “found” at the residential schools are beyond understanding.
The people who do “their own research” drive me round the bend.
Don’t get me started on Texas, abortion, republicans, or whack-a-doodle Christians.
Yes, I know my privilege.

Who and what did you miss?
Who I miss – let me get the list. If you are reading this, I miss you!
I miss the ease of meeting new people!
I miss an orange cat named Peet.
I miss Patti Brown a lot. Knowing she is not walking the earth is heartbreaking.
I miss my mom.

What did I miss?
I ask that question daily!

Who was the best new person you met?
This is a tough one. I haven’t met many new people.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.
Get your brush wet!
Better safe than dead!
Sisyphus Rocks!
It’s not that hard to be kind or generous.
If you have the chance to say goodbye – say it.

Most of all, I see how simple and content my world is, and I realize I have a totally different idea of what constitutes the “best or worst” of anything.

adayforpearls

by Jan
Well, after four long and horrid years, he leaves more than 400,000 dead in his wake.
I can only hope for peace and progress going forward.
As with so many others, I breathe a sigh of relief.
On we go. Call me when the fucker goes to jail.
I’m wearing pearls and sneakers today.

2020inreview

by Jan

Oh what a year it’s been for all of us. I will say Ken and I are very fortunate to be weathering this storm in a sturdy boat, in very safe harbour. Being retired, homebodies, and introverts made the year easier, and… boy howdy, none of this has been easy.

So, here’s my annual
Year in Review in simple question and answer form.

What did you do in 2020 that you’ve never done before?
I wore a mask over my face in a bank. As a matter of fact, I wore a mask over my face every time I went in public and I also didn’t spend much time in public.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In 2020 I made two resolutions. One was to hike at least 52 new trails. This is an easy yes. I hiked a lot and logged at least 2,000 km. The second was to work my way through the Martha Stewart Bakes cookbook. I baked a lot, but hardly made a dent in Martha’s book.
For 2021 I make no promises or resolutions. I’ve been thinking on motto’s though and I’m leaning towards… Together Again. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Becky became a grandma, I think Kat and Kevin had another baby as well.

Did anyone close to you die?
Shall I say their names? And, at the time of this writing… 14,936 dead in Canada, 808 in BC, 1 in Sechelt, 341,000 plus dead in the states  and 1,771,177 so far worldwide. On a personal note, people I love, lost people they loved. So I call the name of Debs sister, Linda, Sandie’s brother Scott, Sheri’s mom Sandy, Joyce’s husband Ronnie, and Anna’s mom Irene. Salute.

What countries did you visit?
We stayed in Canada. Actually, we stayed in Sechelt and at home on Samron Rd. I moved around a lot in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and sewing room, the bathroom was a fave. I got out hiking in the woods a lot with MuMu.

What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
Company!

What events from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory?
Ken and I stayed healthy during the pandemic. Like Sisyphus I rolled the same rock up the hill each day in the form of sewing, reading, hiking, and cooking. Learning to paint has been as hard as learning to read. My head explodes and expands with each lesson. Getting lost in the woods will stick with me for a while.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I read or listened to 82 books. I took painting lessons on-line. I figured out how to thread and use a serger! I sewed a lot of face masks, and raised a lot of money for the food bank.

What was your biggest failure?
I ride a very high horse and have a hard time getting off it.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Ken and I are well. Ken had cataract surgery on both eyes, and I was put on the wait list to be next. I fell hiking once and had a big bruise on my bum, and my jaw and ears continue to give me trouble from the head injury the stupid dentist gave me a few years ago, but… gratefully, we are quite healthy for a couple of old folks!

What was the best thing you bought?
I sew and paint like a millionaire, and we eat like kings. Oh, we bought a fancy cover for the van.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
People who wash their hands, mask up, stay home, keep calm and stay nice. Dr. Bonny Henry is a rock star. Kelly at Coastal Organics earns 5 stars! I continue to cheer the everyday actions of my husband Ken, Sandie, Kas, Jess, Anna, Ross and Tyler, Kathy, and my brother Art. Salute!

Whose behaviour appalled you?
I find ALL of the GOP disgusting. Anti maskers, anti vaxers, and people who ignored the stay at home orders just piss me off.

Where did most of your money go?
Sadly, even though we didn’t go anywhere, we spent a whack of money on car and van repairs. I’d say most of our money went toward hobbies and into our bellies.

What did you get really excited about?
Drive by parades! Hiking, sewing, reading, painting, cooking and realizing I’m okay doing the same thing over and over each day.

What song will always remind you of 2020?
Anything by the Rolling Stones, or John Prine singing, Hello in there.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder?  Happier, with more cranky moments.
ii. thinner or fatter?  Same and what a journey it’s been to be able to say that.
iii. richer or poorer?  Richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish we could have taken a road trip, or had friends over.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
I ride a pretty high horse, and there are times I wish I could get off. I also complain about the neighbours and living in an industrial park a lot. I wish I didn’t need to! Ha Ha!

Did you fall in love in 2020?
Ken has my heart, he’s a really good man, and well, MuMu sure makes us laugh.

What was your favourite TV program?
I record TV shows, then fast forward through them. I watch Great Performances, Masterpiece, and detective shows like Vera and Lewis. I watch TV, and don’t care about most of it. I yell at and talk back to TV shows. Never take the fast forward feature from me.

Have you let go of any resentment or have a regret you cling to?
I find I really resent people who ignore Covid safety and travel protocols, and I regret being so judgmental of them. I will hate that ghoul Mitch McConnell to my dying day. Same goes with that other fucker that hurt so many.

What was the best book you read?
The book that stuck with me the most was Will Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today. What a twisted and brilliant mind fuck that was.

What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
I like the Deezer app and put it on random play, and I like oldies. Of course listening to Ken sing when he plays guitar is still my favourite joy. Ringing bells and singing when I hike keeps the bears away!

What did you want and get?
On-line painting and drawing lessons with Jess Rice! Time alone in the woods.

What did you want and not get?
Company, a road trip, and a professional haircut.

What was your favourite film of this year?
I don’t watched many movies.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 65 on May 20th. No party for me, yet Patti Brown made a four layer coconut, butter pecan cake for me! It was incredible and because of the no company rules, I didn’t have to share with anyone except Ken! I also qualified for OAS which is money Canada gives to old people every month!

What one thing made the year immeasurably more satisfying?
One thing — Watching MuMu and her best friend Oliver play.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
Who cares what I wear? I wear the same clothes I’ve worn for years and years. Literally, the same clothes! Okay, I now wear a mask as well.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Seriously? What doesn’t stir politically?  I know my privilege.

Who and what did you miss?
Who I miss: Company! Kim, mom and Peet. I really miss my brother Art and am grateful we text often.
What I miss: Friendly HUGS, dinners out, drop in friends, easy travel, game night, and wandering around a store. I miss picking things up and putting them back down. I miss having a cat. I miss a covid free world.

Who was the best new person you met?
Kas! Technically I met Kas in December 2019, when her dog Oliver met MuMu in the park. The dogs became instant best friends, and so Kas and I had no choice but to get to know each other. We have been able to distance hike together with the dogs, and, it’s been grand. Kas is a member of our local RCMP. I’ve never had a cop for a friend before and I’m very grateful for her friendship, her outlook on life and her service to our community. Salute!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020.
Biggest lesson reinforced – Better safe than dead.
While I do think a purposeful life is overrated, … perhaps a repetitive one is as well.
On we go! With gratitude and love.

pipeponderings

by Jan

With Covid19, the west coast on fire, a crazy moth infestation, protests, riots, and insane, cruel and corrupt governments running rampart, asking, where are we going and why are we in this hand-basket? is a fair question.

All this is not just a 2020 thing. We’ve worked up to this horror over the years, day by day. We are dealing with the climate changes we were warned about and ignored. And a lot of the trouble we see now is the direct result of a life with the inter-web and social media addiction and manipulation.

I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix the other night and well, holy shit, or maybe I should say Holy shift! My pal, Art Baner has a pondering pipe and I’ve metaphorically borrowed it this last week.

I am not a shaker or mover in the world, and no one can call me an activist. However, I like to think, that while, I do what I can to make the world a better place, I know for certain, I don’t do all I can. I also know my privilege in just being able to say those words.

Ken and I are well and safe today. And, when so many others are not, it’s hard to justify my putting my head in the sand, yet, as I ponder…justify is exactly what I’m going to do.

I haven’t felt the need to post on this bloggy thing for a while — mostly because I use other outlets. I have a few internet pen pals and can ramble, vent, rant and pontificate each day quite easily. Because of the inter-web, I can share my dramas, traumas, joys and celebrations with a click of a button, and feel somewhat heard and seen. I’ve been grateful for these outlets, especially in these strange times of isolation and social distancing.

Before Covid19 I never watched the news. Today, I turn to Dr. Henry and the CBC more often. Sometimes I watch Trevor Noah but, I don’t like to get serious news from TV comedians or from postings and videos on Facebook.  I get outraged easily. I also realize,  that what news I do get, is from sought-after and like minded sources. Sources that are totally bias to my way of thinking. (An example: I would never watch FOX news, but do read Heather Cox Richardson.)

My father who was a life long member of the GOP, died before the last election. I wonder how he would react to the happenings of today. I like to think he would turn away,  yet… he watched Fox News a lot and believed it, so maybe not. I know we were divided on issues long before the current shit show.

I’m shocked when conservatives (in Canada as well as the US) vote for and pass horrible and hateful policies, putting money and pseudo religion first. I often asked myself, how can anyone think any of that is okay? How are we so different in our values and understandings of the world? Don’t they see and read what I do? Don’t they understand the world out there? How can anyone think that and not this?

The Social Dilemma show – clarified it for me.

No, “they” don’t see what I do and I don’t see what they are fed. The developers of social media make sure of this. I only see what they want to show me, because they’ve been watching me and notice the things I’ve “liked” and the searches I personally go on.

I see what I agree with, from people who agree with me. This is mainly because of what I post and click on. I also help “them” out by blocking or “friending” others depending on what they post and click on.

Social media creators admit that when they started these platforms, they had high hopes of joyful connections and bringing people together. And, they did. As a result,  I reap the benefit of an on-line community in so many ways.

Unfortunately a byproduct of social media has also divided us and has had a big hand in destroying democracy.

Fuck.

So, after some pondering… here is how I’m going to justify my continued use of social media.

I acknowledge and accept responsibility that by participating, I am part of the problem. In the same way I am participating in climate change by driving a car and consuming goods.

I am grateful to be older and not have children. If I was younger or raising a family, I would hope my actions would be different. Alas, I am older, have no children, and my life is simple. I know, “they” know all about me. I’m guessing they probably find me boring and yet, I’m still addicted enough to feed the bastards.

(Side point… The only business that calls customers “users” are drug dealers and social media giants.)

Of all the platforms social media offers, I use email and Facebook the most. I use What’s App with four friends who refuse to be on Facebook, and, being connected to them is important to me, so I went there with them. I don’t use twitter, Istagram, tic toc, or other platforms.

I like Facebook. I’m not willing to give it up. I don’t have an all or nothing mindset with social media. I would miss it and my friends around the world if I deleted my account. I’m a Nosey Parker. I like seeing what my friends are up to.

What I can do, is set better boundaries for myself. I can change some of my on-line habits for the better.

I’ve turned off all notifications. I don’t, won’t and never have accepted friend requests from people I don’t know.

The friends I do have are actual friends. There is only one person in my list of friends, I’ve not met in actual life. I also belong to a few FB groups, like quilting groups, local FYI groups, buy and sell pages, and save the bears organizations. As of this week, I’ve un-joined most of these.

The less I click the better. I will no longer watch suggested videos or show my support or displeasure by clicking on anything other than personal updates.

However, show me a picture of your dinner, hike or family and I’ll be all over it. Show me how the asshat is a fucker, and I will no longer agree or disagree publicly. If you know me, you know where I stand and who I support.

I will continue to enjoy and click “like” even “love” when Gaby shows me the photo of her kayaking, or Becky shows the sunrise photo she took. I love it when Joel post a pic of his dog, and Laurie shares her trip to Ireland. I especially want to know that while Jim and heather needed to evacuate because of fire, they are safe, and that while Joanne is in isolation because of Covid, she is okay. I like the silliness my brothers posts, and the low tech Sunday serenade Tommy plays on his guitar, and oh I do love it when Jess and Lainey share their art work. And, I will continue to post photos of MuMu and I hiking, of Ken up to something, and I hope one day, I will start to have contest time again.

This is the community I need and love. I’m not willing to give it up, even with the full knowledge that I am helping make zillionaires into bazillionaires.

I’ve said from the beginning, social media has to be fun and it’s only fun if you play. I’ve purged people who don’t play, and I block friends that instigate trouble..

Alas, if you are reading this, please know I cherish my friendships and want them to continue. If you choose to leave social media, please don’t leave the friendship. Find another way to connect. Call or write.

Because of the inter-web, we are seeing more of the world than ever before. And because of social media, that sadly that includes the good, bad and oh so very ugly news and actions that are meant to divide us. But, don’t forget, as manipulated as we are, we are also seeing families, friends and communities come together.

We may be complicit but are not helpless.

Do something good for yourself and the world today. Maybe watch the Social Dilemma and choose well what you post, and when you click.

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