by Jan

We are kitchen people.

We used to say that a lot. The kitchen is where we hang out. Where the action in the house is, where you can hear the most laughter and where we gather.

On Bowen Island, we had a big kitchen, and someone was always in it. Some of my fondest memories are of people pushing hands, and making tea, in that kitchen, during training camps.

Our house in Sechelt has a smaller kitchen, but it’s open to the upstairs. Company hangs out at the big table, and who ever is in the kitchen, is still part of the action.

I’ve taken over the kitchen domain since moving to Sechelt.

I did it on purpose. I chose to learn how to cook. Now I say silly things like — “Get outta my way, and “Don’t watch me” and “That doesn’t go there.” The stupidest thing I ever said was, “That’s not how you load a dishwasher!”

On Boxing Day, I was doing the kitchen chores when an overwhelming love and memory of my mom washed over me.

My mother was a kitchen person, but not until her kids had long left the house.

She was a good cook and baker for Jack and the many clubs and social events she was part of. She was famous for her cream puffs and meringue. Two things, I’ve not even tried to make, and two of my favourite deserts.

What got me thinking about her though, were two items that are part of our kitchen.

The little cast iron dish she used to melt butter for our pancakes, and the painting of the Patron Saint of the kitchen – San Paschal.





Mom was a crafty. In 1977 she gifted me this small cutting board with San Paschal when I married in 1977. I think she knew I’d need the help in the kitchen.

I’ve hauled San Paschal with me ever since.

The cast iron dish, I took after Alice died in 2003. She had a lot of shit, yet only a few things, that really make me think of her. That cast iron dish is one of them.

This Christmas was the first time I used it! I melted butter in it for our Christmas crab dinner!

I know the most important things in life are not things. Yet, sometimes we need the things to help us remember what’s important.

I miss Alice.


by Jan

Season Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Thursday!

Please know, Ken and I think the world of you. We hope you have a grand holiday, and that we are able to begin 2020 in health, safety, and joy!

2019 started a bit rough. Ken had to have two surgeries. Thankfully, both were successful and all is well now. The only thing better than being on the receiving end of universal health care — is not needing it. The doctors, nurses and entire system were top notch. This entire adventure made it much easier for both of us, to keep that “in sickness and health” vow, when things were hard. We’re back in the “for better” category again, and very grateful.

Our most exciting news is a dog named MuMu! You already know this if you read this bloggy thing at all.

This is a painting our friend Tommy Martinez did for us. He captured her perfectly!

MuMu is a sweet, six year old, poodle-oodle, snickerdoodle, spoiled rotten, with a stubborn streak. She is smart, super cute, and a fur ball of love! Our life is better with dog! I do believe we won the lottery when she joined this Parker household.

Ken continues to be super creative and productive in his shop. He seems to always have some project going. He finished building his sailing dory, a beautiful new wood box for our firewood, a squatty potty for me and various other projects requiring epoxy and sandpaper!

He’s a board member of the local woodworkers guild, and was in charge of their 2 by 4 challenge last spring. Now, as the year ends, he’s making wooden spoons, spatulas, and serving trays, as Christmas presents, for people, that may otherwise go without. He also, keeps his “honey do” list up to date with me, and handles all outside chores, including firewood, car, yard and garden.

I’d say I spent more time at the sewing machine, cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again, than I did out hiking in the woods; but I’m not sure that’s true. I thoroughly enjoy both.

In the coming year, it’s my intent to go on 52 new hikes. The coast has so many beautiful trails and places to go, and I’m inspired to hike them.

I also plan on working my way though the Martha Stewart Bakes Cookbook. I’ll need to keep hiking, if I follow through!

We had a chance to tour the Maritimes in the fall and it was terrific. We took a bus tour, organized by Quilt Tours International. We really enjoyed, eating loads of lobster, crab, and PEI mussels. Visiting Peggys Cove and hanging out in Lunenburg were favourites, as was the Cabot Trail. It was fun trip and the only one we took this year.

We still want to see Newfoundland and Yukon. Canada is a big and wonderful country. We want to see as much of it as we can. Hopefully in 2020 we will be able to get in the van and go!

For the most part, we stayed home in 2019. We enjoyed a lot of company. Hopefully, they enjoyed my cooking!

We live in a beautiful part of the world, that is not that easy to get to, so we are grateful friends come to visit.

So, on we go! May the new year be bright. Thanks for being part of our life. And, thanks for reading this bloggy thing. I hope to write a bit more often in the coming year.

With love, Jan, Ken and MuMu


by Jan

MuMu had to wait for me yesterday!

Oh, how times have changed. It wasn’t all that long ago, I was dragging her with me, on the super flat and easy Crowsten Connector walk. We celebrated her walking the entire one kilometre, by lifting her into the car!

I remember telling Ken, I was probably being too hard on her — expecting too much, pushing her too soon.

I’m a fast walker and for a couple of months, she had to remind me to slow down, and take a break! Her breathing was heavy, her eyes pleading, and with even my pocket full of one calorie treats, she did her best to keep going, but…. she was in rough shape when we got her.

All that has changed!

Yesterday, we were climbing up a mountain! As we neared the top, it was me in need of a break. I had to stop to catch my breath. MuMu was in the lead, carrying a big stick, on the look out for bears and squirrels. If she had a pocket full of treats, she would have pulled one out, as encouragement for me to keep going.

As it was, she came back to sit with me, as I took a much needed rest.

This joy of a dog, has only been with us a short time, yet it seems like she’s been part of the Parker family forever.

MuMu is one solid muscle of dog goodness now. She romps and runs to her hearts content— yet is kind enough, and smart enough, to look back to see, if I need any help, or encouragement to keep going.


by Jan

Good old Facebook. It has a memory, and shared that I posted this story on this day in 2011. It was on the old janparkerarts page in the notebook, the one without a comment section.

A friend wrote to tell me a comment section would be nice, as they had some thoughts this particular post.

So, today I’m re-posting the story. My feelings on this topic, are stronger than ever.

December 12, 2011
I went to the The Vancouver Men’s Choir Concert last night with my friend Rosie. As far as a holiday traditions go; this one is fantastic!

What’s not to love about 50 men singing and dancing in celebration on stage? It’s a fun concert, and the conductor is fabulous!

What I enjoy most about this holiday concert is the content of songs. They sing winter songs and sing a-long Christmas carols. And while, the performance is held in a church, there aren’t any “glory to god” songs. More like, Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bells type songs. If I’m mistaken the glory to, type of songs aren’t the focus, and with the arrangements I’m able to by-pass the words.

By-pass the words.
Okay, here we go. I just opened my own can of worms.

I’ve had this conversation a few times this week, as it is concert season. I used to sing with a choir. Now, as much as singing in public challenges my comfort zone and voice, the really hard part for me, was raising my voice in praise of something I do not believe in. The choir I was part of sang a lot, of “glory to god” songs.

When I voiced my concerns I was told to “not worry about it,” try not to think about the words, I should just focus on the notes or beauty of the music.

I tried, but finally came to realize, nope. Words matter. What we say matters. What we think and sing about matters.

In one of Art Baner’s Qigong classes, he challenged us to walk for 30 days with bad posture, and hold negative thoughts during that time as an experiment. Of course, no one was willing to do that!  We all knew the effect it would have on us! It wouldn’t be long before we were walking our talk, and feeling terrible and depressed. How about if we were asked to welcome the world with a smile and joy? It wouldn’t be long before we were having joyful days and feeling pretty good.

Because what we say, think and sing… matters.

If they are “just” words, in these songs, how many of us would gladly sing a rap song, exploiting rape, cruelty, or murder?

Why not? The beat could be fun to bounce or dance to, maybe you are at a party that is hopping and the rhythm of the song is catchy. Would you sing “words” about rape? Would you sing it in public? Would it matter to you if you were asked not to worry about the words? Would you play gangster songs if you found them to be offensive? To my ears, religious church music is just as uncomfortable. I’m not willing to by-pass the words for the melody.

It is easy to fool ourselves, and get caught up in the melody or mood of the season. But, day by day, word by word, song by song, I’m more particular about what I listen to, sing and say.

I am either becoming more open or closing down further. I don’t know if I am standing in my truth, or stuck in my ways.  I do know I’m not interested in listening to or singing songs of praise to something I cannot fathom and feel is harmful.

When I wrote this in 2011, I had no comment button on this bloggy thing. Today, there is one, I invite your thoughts. But, please let me remind you — say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean… if you say anything at all, because words matter, no matter the tune.


by Jan

I just finished listening to The Dutch House by Ann Patchet.

First off-Tom Hanks is the reader, and because Tom has such a recognizable voice, it was hard to see Danny as a character in his own right. He will always be Tom Hanks to me.

Still, I enjoyed this book. It is the story of a brother and sister and the house they grew up in. It is also about a broken home, an evil step mother, distant father, and while life goes on, marks are made.

I related to this story, as someone whose own family home, was taken over by a step-mother, and I also was forced to leave. I’m always amazed at the unnecessary cruelty and jealousy an adult can have over a child, and also how easy it is to for others to stand by and watch.

The relationship of the siblings is at the heart of this book. I related to this story, because in a strange way, with different details, it was the story of my childhood home, with my brother and I as sole survivors. When all is taken away, we hold tight to those that stay.

Plus, Ann Patchet has yet to disappoint in any of her books.


by Jan

I’ve meant to write something on this bloggy thing for a while now. Mostly, so as not to have my latest political rant as the post that comes up first, if you happen onto the sight.

The challenge is… I must write if I am to post anything. And, writing is hard!

I know, I know… I heard something years ago, about practice making anything easier, but… well… blah, blah… I continue to make every excuse I ever heard.

So, here we go.

I have loads of topics to choose from. Life is so bloggy worthy.

For instances…
Ken and I went to the Maritimes. We had a great trip.
The season turned.
We thought about moving, then decided to stay put.
Company comes and goes, and comes again.
We took the van out for a mere 3 day trip.
I took a felting workshop from the world famous Moy Mackay on Vancouver Island and stayed with friends in a house on a lake.
I flew on the Harbour Air sea plane, and sat in the co-pilot seat.
I’ve made a quilt or two, and gave several more away.
Ken’s made things out of wood, but they are a surprise, so I can’t tell you about them here.
Our health is good.
It seems we did this and then we did that… Our daily routine is comfortable and easy.

I’m not sure where the day goes, but time passes and before you know it, I’m waking up again and thinking it would be a good idea if I wrote!

Then there is MuMu! A dog like her deserves her own bloggy thing! Apparently, I can go on and on about her!

This doggy has made our life better. Everyday, she makes us laugh and adds joy to our world.

As you know, she was a bit chubby when we got her and had a hard time walking.

I am happy to report, she was 34kg when we first got her, and yesterday, she was 28kg! For those of you who think in pounds and not kilos, she was 74 pounds when we got her and today is down to 62! Twelve pounds down! Toot-toot!

Friggen rock star! She is so frisky and happy now. Job well done! She could lose another 3-5 more pounds, but there is no hurry. Looking back — wowza. Good dog!

Here are some before and after shots. On the left with Ken in July. On the right, running free yesterday!







Okay – I’ve rambled and posted.


by Jan

Canadians go to the polls on October 21st.
Before I get going, please note: The liberal party of Canada is NOT liberal, in the way people in the US defined liberal. In Canada, if you are to lean left — you would vote NDP or Green.

Okay, here I go.

In theory we have several political parties to choose from. The Green Party, the NDP, The People’s Party and yes, even the Rhinos are running in some ridings, but until we have true proportional representation, the race usually comes down between the Liberals, lead by Prime Minister Trudeau, and the Conservatives with a trump wanna be leading, named Andrew Scheer.

Being a voter is hard these days, and being a politician is insane. It is so easy to screw up what you stand for. For example; wearing black and brown face to parties when you are in your 20s — not good. Photoshopping out a plastic straw from a water bottle you are drinking from — just dumb. Making cruel remarks made about same sex marriage, and not apologizing … horrid.

Mud slinging and stupid antics aside, most of the parties and people running, at least talk like they care about the people of Canada, the environment, and the rights of all people. It is 2019 after-all.

The conservatives, on the other hand don’t. They seem only to be concerned with big money. They are climate deniers, and use religious rhetoric to spout their way, are anti immigration, and seem hell bent on taking away the rights of the people in the LGBTQ community.

I honestly fear for Canada if this party gets into power. I can easily see Canada could go down the path the states have… and the polarization that I see and feel is terrifying.

Now, let me be very clear here. I’m NOT saying you need to vote or think like I do. (Even if I wish you would!) Yet, I feel if you vote for the conservatives, up here, you are voting for hate, even if you say, yeah… but… the economy, the taxes…

When we first moved here, Ken and I volunteered at the Botanical Gardens. It was great fun and good work, until we found most people there, thought the then PM Harper, was a great guy.

Talk about a conversation stopper! What also stopped was our volunteering there. I just couldn’t spend time with people who were openly racist, talking about “them.” And since we were new to town and had not yet, made friends, it was fairly easy to walk away.

A while ago, my PAWMA sister, Jamie Leno Zimron posted something on Facebook, and reading it made an impression on me. I’ve thought about the truth of this quite often.

Jamie wrote, “I came out in college, age 20, and used to speak on panels a lot ~ I’ve always felt that people have 2 choices once they meet me, think I’m a good person, and then hear I’m gay: They can either change their opinion of me, or change their opinion of “homosexuals” / gay people. People need to know each other, to get past all the fear, judgments, stereotyping, prejudice, separation. It’s true across the board ~ We need to make and take every opportunity to meet and know one another. Change happens, starting at the personal and human level.”

What stuck with me, was “They can either change their opinion of me, or change their opinion of “homosexuals” / gay people.” It’s true. Change happens when we get personal.

We go happily along in our community and then we get personal. We learn something about someone that may surprise us. We are challenged, our values are questioned, and we see we need to somehow get past all the fear, judgments, stereotyping, prejudice, separation that the new information may bring. Because, somethings gonna change!

Now, replace the word “we” with “I” in the above paragraph, and you have the gist and struggle of this post.

Honestly, I assumed I would always choose love. Of course my friends hold different interests from me. Hell, Ken and I share very few common interests. What we share are values, principles, and ideals, and we hold our relationship strong because of this.

When I learned a friend, who I admire and count on, is supporting the conservative party, I find a knot in my gut and fear something is gonna change.

I was told, “We need to agree to disagree.”

Now, if I am to do that, I would need to put my head down and ignore what I know, both about the conservatives, and my friend.

But, dammit, if I choose to over look and change my mind about the conservative party, I’d need to overlook all ethical, educational, or moral fibre I hold.

If I change my heart about my friend, I lose them in my life.


I have a lot of LGBTQ friends, family members, and love ones. How could I ever face them if I “agree to disagree”? Yet, how do I turn a blind eye on this particular friend as well?

I could tell myself, we can agree to disagree and not mention it again. We can pretend, nothing has changed… but… more has been revealed and the stakes are too high to be ignored.

Is this what a parent of a gay child feels if they’ve been told some shit all their life, then their loved one comes out? For me the THAT choice is easy. Fuck the hate — love the person!

Alas, right now, I need to find a way to love a person with totally different ideals than me, or say goodbye.

Agreeing to disagree, is total bullshit here. Cutting ties is crap as well.

My father and I held polar opposite ideals when it came to politics — he told me once that NOTHING I could say would make him change his mind. I do not want to be as closed minded.

Yet, people who vote to limit the rights of others and the demise of our environment… well… Fuck!

I think we can agree on one thing for sure, no matter who wins this election, we are losing, losing, losing.


by Jan

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name will smell just as sweet. Right?

My name story has always been a puzzle to me.

See, I come from a long line with both sides of my family, naming the children after their parent, and grandparent.

For example:
My Granddad Hudson was William, my dad was William, my brother was William.
My Grandfather Chambers was Arthur, my Uncle was Arthur, his son is Arthur and my brother is Arthur.
My Grandma Hudson was Pearl, her daughter is Pearl
My Auntie is June, her daughter is June
My Uncle is Robert and his son is Robert.
My Grandmother Chambers was Alice, my mother was Alice, … I am Jan.

What the heck?
Also, I am not Janice, Janet, or Jeanette. My name is Jan.

As a child, and still at times today, I wish I’d been named Alice, like my mom and her mom, or even Pearl… but, as it turned out, I am Jan and I answer to it.

So, what’s in a name?

Eight weeks ago, we got a dog, a wonderful dog! And, we’ve had a heck of a time with her name.

She came to us as MuMu. MuMu, the sweetest dog ever.

She was also over weight, out of shape, and a bit lethargic. It didn’t seem to matter what we called her, as long as we talked soft and sweet to her.

She paid attention, would look us in the eye, and while she is not trained, she is a good dog! She loves Ken, yet has attached herself to me. We loved her on first sight and are happy we are all together.

Still, neither Ken nor I could get our mouth around calling her MuMu!

I tried calling her Susie for a while. Nope, that was no good either.

I suppose out of habit or laziness, we started calling her Boze! Just like our dog before her. After all, I had three cats named Peet, what’s wrong with two dogs named Boze? She looked similar and we already had the tag.

The thing about all the Peets, we got them as kittens and orange cats tend to have the same personalities. Peet certainly did and all were great cats. Peet was Peet.

So, when push came to shove, Ken and I decided on calling this dog Boze too. She’s on record at the vets and has a city of Sechelt license.


Now, in the last 8 weeks, she has lost 4.4 kg and is now a frisky, five and a half year old puppy! She also has shown us a real stubborn streak, and believe it or not, there are times, she totally ignores us!

The other day, I was talking with the friends who dog sit for us. They sheepishly told us, they call her MuMu. They just don’t see Boze in her. They see and love a very happy MuMu.


So… I experimented. I started calling her MuMu.


MuMu turns to look at me every time I call her name! She pays attention when she hears MuMu. She pops her head up, and responds when I call out MuMu. She comes to MuMu and wags her tails ferociously. (Okay, she has always wagged her tail with vigour.)

Apparently, having a particular name for five and half years sunk in.

The last 8 weeks have been wonderful, and also must have been super confusing for her. There have been loads of change,

Not just the person she lived with changed, but her diet, her exercise, her toys and the games, she played are different. Her location, routines, and well, her name have changed.

Yesterday, when I called her MuMu,, I witnessed another change. Her face was different, more relaxed. It actually seemed like she had been lost and now is found.

She’s a good dog. She likes us, and we her. We are lucky we found each other.

Susie, MuMu Bozie doodle dog, Boze, Sugar, Sport, Cecilia, Puppy, Doggy, Hey you…. MuMu!

What’s in a name?

I think I learned it’s not so much what anyone calls you, it’s what we respond to, that matters.

We will learn to get our mouth around our dogs named, MuMu and will get a new tag.

Meet MuMu… again.



by Jan

While I don’t update this bloggy thing very often, I do think about it everyday. Okay, not true, what I think about everyday is writing.

I feel to get any story down, I need the opening line or at least a topic or a rant to get me started.

This weekend, I found the rant.

A little background.

About six months ago, I made a big change in a life long habit.

I quit eating snacks. I did not go on a diet. I just quit snacking.

Well, lordy, lordy… go figure, I’ve lost more than 15 pounds because of this one giant change.

I could write a billion stories about me and my weight and the struggle to be, and the acceptance of reality and blah, blah, blah… I’ve wanted to lose 10 pounds since I was in high school, but I also never wanted to change anything. Now, a mere 46 years later… I have.
Anyway – it’s been quite a journey.

Now, a side effect of losing weight is… my pants are baggy. I’m wearing a belt for the first time in my life. I don’t necessarily need or want new pants though. It feels nice to wear something with a bit of breathing room.

Still, this weekend, we went to a yard sale, and I found a couple pairs of jeans, in a smaller size, and without trying them on, I thought I’d take a chance. They looked almost new and were only two bucks.

When I got home, I noticed that both pairs of jeans have big important, fancy designers labels on the back pockets. Ooo-La-La.

Yippee, the pants fit… $2. well spent.

Except… and here is the rant…

Fucking women’s jeans made by fancy dancy designers have the smallest pockets EVER!


In case you are a designer reading this, please know… women carry shit in their pockets! I mean, there’s absolutely no room for keys, change, not even a few dog treats. My thumbs barely fit into these pathetic designer after thoughts. No one can call them pockets!

I don’t usually comment on the different ways things are marketed to men and women. (okay, yes I do) For instance, Ken’s barber charges him $15. to cut his hair, my barber changes me $40. I buy men’s face cream at the Saturday Market because it costs $5. less than the face cream the same lady makes for women, with the same ingredients!

What ever… but… Pants all pants, (no matter how good your bum looks in them)… ALL pants, and most dresses, need usable fucking pockets!

Once again, I am reminded of the amazing life I am fortunate to live, if this is my great offence today. Double whew.


by Jan

It’s hard to know the road not taken.

Yet, I do try to image it.

I like to image that, my life is exactly as I live it today, with the ONLY difference of, at times I’d like to sit on the deck and enjoy a glass of wine, maybe a bit of scotch.

However… that is not my reality today.

I know full well, I am as unique as the next person, and am told I ride a slippery slope.

Yet really, so much of what I’ve been told about being able to stay sober, has not been true for me.

I was told, for instance, that I’d have to go to meetings for ever and ever, if I wanted to stay sober. That’s not true. I was told, I had to have a spiritual solution to my “problem”. Again, that’s not true.

I do not believe in a power greater than myself. I have not and will not turn my will and my life over to any made up anything. I am not powerless, and thinking is an amazing asset.

I am sane, smart, loved, and teachable. I am open minded and quite willing to take life on life’s terms.

I know who I am, I’ve done the work — I have a story.

What is true about my sobriety is I will never know the road not taken. At least, I won’t find out today.

Today, I sally forth, and live happily with my decision not to drink booze.

Tomorrow though… tomorrow, I will revisit my decision. Just as I’ve done everyday for the last 35 years.

And tomorrow once again, I’ll choose which road I want to take.