by Jan

Let’s talk about pot.

Okay, since this bloggy thing is not really a conversation, but a place for my rambles, what I meant to say is….

I’m going to talk about pot.

I’ll put it out right from the start. I’m not a fan.

I’ve certainly been high on it, but it’s never been my “drug of choice.” Actually given the choice — pot is probably the last mind altering thing I’d choose.

Me and pot do not get along. I get paranoid and itchy. The times I’ve gotten high, all hell tends to break loose. Something big will happen, and I will either have to run, or hide, or talk to someone in authority. That’s me. I do not get or enjoy a harmless buzz.

I know a lot of people do. I also know a lot of people who have wine with dinner or a shot of whiskey in the evening. Again, I’m not one of them.

Pot will be legal in Canada very soon. Yet, I wonder what that will change, maybe the government will make more money, maybe more treatment centres will need to open, maybe nothing will change.

What I see, and have seen for years is pot is already everywhere. Those that consume it, consume it. Where and how does not seem to make a difference to them.

There are very few times I go anywhere, be it to the grocery store, or a hike in the bush, that I’m not “treated” to the order of pot in the air.

Seriously – it does not matter if I’m hiking in the bush or walking downtown, on the main street of our little town, I smell pot. People already smoke it everywhere, and have for years.

Pot isn’t yet legal, and yet the small town of Sechelt, has three pot stores selling weed already.

There was an article on the inter-web that was worried that cops, doctors and airplane pilots would be coming to work stoned when pot was legalized. You know, like they’d be smoking joints with their coffee breaks, because — it’s legal and they’d now have the right.

Maybe they forget that booze is legal. Now, while I know there are cops, doctors and pilots who have alcoholism, and many are what we call “maintenance” drinkers, and do show up at work loaded, but the majority of people don’t drink on their coffee breaks. Just as the many folks who get high, don’t come to work stoned.

Now, I know, I know… many say, and maybe it’s true, that pot is less harmful to individuals and society as a whole than booze is… and while that MAY true, don’t forget I worked at a treatment centre for 12 years.

Pot can fuck up the best of a person, just as easily as any substance can.

I’ve no where to go with this ramble or rant — except to say, I prefer not to debate the merits of weed, and I really don’t want to smell pot when I’m out in the world.

But, that’s just me.


by Jan

The Olympic flame is out.

We can take a break from hours of TV and rest up from all the cheering and hoo-ha of the Olympics. But, we can’t take too log a break, as the Para-Olympics games start up in a few weeks!

Now, the Para-Olympics games have all the same sports as the “regular” games; it’s just that in these games the athletes are blind or only have one leg.

I know we won’t be able to watch as much as I’d like, because the CBC won’t cover these games as much. There just isn’t the same kind of money provided for showing a blind guy fly down a mountain on skis at 70 miles per hour, no matter what country they’re from.

Plus, you can only imagine the metaphors the announcers could come up with…

Wow, he didn’t see that coming! She doesn’t have a leg to stand on…

Yeah – probably not.

For now, it’s all good. Like I said, I need a break from the fast forward button and the big TV. We’ve other stuff to do.

By the way – in case you didn’t hear… I swam a mile last Saturday. Actually I swam a little further as I didn’t want to come up short in case my count was off.

In 57 minutes, I swam 70 lengths of our 25 metre pool.

I’m pretty darn chuffed with myself and don’t mind tooting my own horn with this accomplishment.

I don’t know if a mile will become my workout, it was hard and I sure was tired after. I know several friends who swim a mile on a regular basis. Toot-toot to them!

Still, something happened to me over the last 7 weeks, I actually look forward to going to the pool now!

I’ll do my best to keep the schedule of three times a week at twoonie time. My bar will remain set low, at swimming a minumum of 30 minutes. If I do more – bonus. Toot-toot!

Never forget this addict prefers to change her goals to meet her behaviour rather than change her behaviour to meet her goals!

Did I tell you I swam a mile? I meant to!


by Jan

Yes, the Olympics are still on and I’m still in front of the TV.

Recording the CBC 24/7 has been the best thing we ever did regarding these games. We’re able to watch the events we love, and fast forward through commercials and the blah, blah. (of which there is a lot!)

Snow boarders and skiers are my favourite. I’m not a big fan of skating sports. Speed skating gets my heart rate up too high. I can’t stand it when they crash. I don’t watch hockey, or figure skating. Except I had watch Tessa and Scot, because they are Canada’s sweethearts and they did good. I also fast forward to the 10th end in curling and then watch the last rock thrown for all the teams.

I’m disappointed in the Women’s hockey game. Not the game itself – I didn’t watch it. I heard everyone played well, and a shoot out is not the way to decide a game, but the Canadian women were sore sports, and that put a twist in my knickers.

Of course every one plays to win, and with this level of skill, on any given day, any given team or athlete could get gold. They know it, yet acting like a silver medal is crap is… well… crap. Shame on them.

Once again, I’m going to comment on the commentators – I know it is a hard job and for some reason, going quiet and just watching the sport is not part of their job description. So, while in giving us the blow by blow, they come up with some wonderful metaphors to describe the events.

Here are just a few…
• Another big tree falls
• She left her cake in the oven too long
• He’s on the ropes
• He played his cards too early
• Only she knows what is left in her tank
• You can decorate a cake all you want, but if it doesn’t taste good…
• I like that we were invited to his party
• A soft drink away from movie night
• They have a cushion and window, but better not sit back and enjoy the view

And then there are the cheers …
• Stop, drop and open up shop!
• One, two, stomp and cue the crowd!

and my favourite commiseration…
• So disappointing, but, this is a hard sport — you really need skill.
(this was said during ski cross, when no one crashed or died and they all crossed the finish line within .03 of each other!)

I say, cue the crowd! Woot-woot!

Did I mention I love the Olympics? I also really love the fast forward button!


by Jan

What I learned this week.
A lap in a pool is up and back. A length is one way, and a lane is the what you swim in.

So, while I was tooting my own horn about swimming 40 laps — according to this new knowledge, I actually only swam 20, but I did them all in my own lane!

It is weird to have swimming be a thing for me, I have is a lot of baggage attached to a pool.

My dad was a serious swimmer. He was a swimming teacher and swimming coach for his career. I know my brother Bill swam competitively both in school, and at least once in a seniors meet.

My brother Art, was the swim teams manager in high school, but I don’t think he swam.

I do remember my dad picking Art up and tossing him in the pool and yelling “Alligators!” I know Art got out of the pool somehow.

I never learned to be comfortable in the water. As children we spent a lot of time messing around in pools. And, I’ve had at least two near drowning experiences in my life. (good times!)

When we worked at Bowen Island Sea Kayaking – I was able to do a wet exit from a kayak, without getting my hair wet.

I’m more comfortable with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds, than with my face wet and limbs splashing around in the water.

But, as the IChing notes, more will be revealed and perseverance furthers.

I’ve been to the pool three times a week for over a month now. I’ve made steady progress with laps, lanes and lengths.

I not reached the goal of swimming a mile yet, but I am still showing up for twoonie time.*

I’ve said, I really like how I feel when I get out of the pool — today, for the first time, I’m looking forward to getting in.

Oh what a world we live in!

*A small window of time, at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre, when it only cost two bucks to get in.


by Jan

I do not know my place in the world on the grand scale of life, and I don’t really care about it.

I have no illusions about life before or after this one. I care nothing for legacy. I only know, I am here now, and am glad for it.

My place in fitness class, on Tuesday and Thursday morning, is an entirely different thing.

Fitness class at the Sechelt Activity Centre is super fun.

The instructor is wonderful! For a little over an hour, Jacquie leads us in heart pounding aerobics, strength training exercises, and muscle relaxing, stretches.

It’s a class I look forward to and feel great leaving from. (Unlike swimming where, so far, I only feel good leaving the pool!)

The gym we gather in is big. It’s a good thing too, because often 60 people plus, come to this class. I’m talking numbers of people in the class and not age.

Of course, we move a lot around the gym, but like musical chairs, when ever we face the front of the room — everyone finds their place!

June, Jane and John are on the far right middle section. Anne, Helmut, and Kathy hang out in the back.

My place is in the second row, far left. Michael is on my right. In front of me is Elisabeth and Renata. I have no clue who is behind me.

As in any class, we all find our preferred power spots.

I’ve taught enough classes to know this. If I think back to different classes, I’ve taught or taken, I can tell you to a tee who stood where.

The first year I learned Tai Chi, I stood behind Darryla, who wore the same worn out, and ripped pair of pants to class for the longest time.

It wasn’t long before, I became a front row centre, type of student. I didn’t want to miss anything and I admit to being a bit of a suck up, to whoever was teaching.

I mention this, only because, yesterday Elisabeth wasn’t there for part of the class. At least she wasn’t in “her spot”.

It was weird, every one in our little corner of the class was a bit off. Finally, she came in late and took her spot — we all got comfortable again. Ann who’s spot is right of Elizabeth, gave her hell. “Where were you? We were worried sick!”

I smiled.
I get it. We all need our special spot, if not in the world, at least in class. And we count on those around us to have theirs.


by Jan

We have a two story house.

For the most part, Ken hangs out downstairs with the big TV, close to his shop and the wood stove. I’m more of an upstairs girl. I like the view, the kitchen is up stairs, and I watch totally different TV shows than Ken watches. (Except during Perry Mason and the Olympics.)

Boze get a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs. She like us both equally well. As long as she is treated like the princess she is — she doesn’t care who provides the love.

Several times a day I stop what I’m doing, and listen in to what goes on downstairs — especially when Ken plays his guitar and sings.

Ken practices a little bit everyday, but rarely when I watch, so I listen from upstairs. I love his playing and when he sings, I’m over the moon. He played and sang at our wedding, a few years ago, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the park. Pure joy!

The other time I love listening in on him, is when he is talking to Boze. Ken is sweet and gentle and it’s no wonder Boze is so happy.

The boy and the dog have their “thing” — they pee in the yard together, they have their walks, and lap time, and several times a day they snuggle and play. And they have the sweetest conversations.

When Peet was alive, Ken used to pick him up, and together they would walk around, and look out different windows in the house. My heart would just melt when they did this.

I am so incredibly grateful to live in a home where the talk is sweet.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you my love.


by Jan

I’ll start off this ramble with two of my favourite announcer quotes…

“Whoever is leading will win this race!”
“Well, THAT was a big mistake. Of course you can’t see it and the judges won’t see it, but it was a BIG mistake.”

Now, here’s an Olympic amazement for me…

6.11.616 to 6.11.618 is the time difference between two speed skaters after a 5 km race. It was the difference between a silver medal and a bronze one. The time for the guy who got in fourth place? Add another 3/1000  second! I’m not posting the gold medal winner’s time, because he blew it out of the water and won by a landslide of 2 entire seconds!

And just for fun, here’s a description of a half a minute run, in the slope style snow board event. Yes, I googled it, and this is the English version.

switch right lipped 270, pretzel 270 out of the top rail. And then switch on front 450 out of the next. And then 270 on, pretzel 270 out of the down rail. And then on the third rail feature, there’s like a jump to a butter pad to a cannon rail.* So I’m doing 180 up, then switch on to the cannon rail to a corked 450 out. And then I’m going left double cork 12, double Japan, to switch right, double cork 10 safety, to switch left, double cork ten tail.

He didn’t mention the 1440 something.

In the past, when watching the Olympics, I would flip from station to station whenever a commercial came on — always grateful that we have so many options.

This time we are recording the 24/7 CBC coverage. It’s great. We can fast forward through the commercials and the interviews, and can cheer the athletes when they do what they do. CBC is doing a great job of showing a huge variety of competition with athletes of all countries.

The best part is we can come and go away from the TV (mostly to get more snacks) without fear of missing anything.

Go sports!


by Jan

I worked at the O on Bowen Island for 12 years. Starting the day with addicts in early recovery was a trip — so to speak. Some days were a challenge and others were filled with inspiration and hope.

The O is where I learned to set the bar low.

For a lot of people in the world, high expectations are the norm. We are encouraged to reach for the stars, shoot for the moon, crawl out on a limb. You know… push.

But, at the O we learned to set the bar low.

Most addicts in early recovery have not had much success in quite a while, and just waking up sober is a challenge. So, the bar is set low and then celebrated when met.

I remember Daryl, a counsellor at the O talked about this. He said the bar is set so low, that if you don’t drink for a 24 hour period, we applaud you!, Go a month and you get a chip, a year and we give you a cake! Plus can stand up and talk in a meeting, and no one will stop you, no matter what you say. At the end of the day we are on your side and will cheer in celebration with you.

I also remember my friend Cynthia teaching us the money and business mantra of “Do as much as you can, for as long as you can, with as little as you can. When you can do more — do.”

Ever since then, I’ve set the bar low in life, and congratulate myself when I reach it.

The bar I set, be it for sobriety, exercising, or for living below our means, is always low, and so far has always been met.

In Tai Chi we are asked – How little can you do, to accomplish this?

I ask myself, what is the least I can do? Then I do that. If per chance I do more — gravy.

Because of this low standard, I must admit, under the circumstances, I do pretty well in life.

This brings me around to watching the Women’s Olympic event of snowboard slope style last night.

First off, the weather forced the cancellation of qualifying runs. The wind was gusting, and in a sport in which the competitors often weigh less than 100 pounds and wear baggy clothes, this was a set up to turn any athlete into a friggen kite.

Basically the medals were awarded to the women who conserved their talent, and got down the mountain without being blown to kingdom come by the wind, or crashing down on their head when they were.

The bar was set low. Finishing on your feet was the least and the best they could do. The reward for survival was gold, silver and bronze.

It was a shame as the women, in this crazy sport, had a hard time showing the world, what they could do under crazy circumstances.

However come to think about it — that’s exactly what they did. Salute!


by Jan

Olympic fever – I get it.
But when I looked up the spelling of fever what I found was the word I was really looking for…. Fervour.

While some people think there are good and harmful effects to a fever — what you hear most about fevers is to break them.

With fervour — only time will mellow the intensity of this mindset.  The Olympics give us three full weeks (I include the para-olympics in this time frame) to get over the enthusiasm.

I’ve always had a love/hate feeling with the Olympics.

As a child it was my dream to participate in them in some fashion. I wanted to be a down hill ski racer, first and foremost. While I knew that dream would never come to fruition, I at times turned my dream to becoming a cameraman for the sport. I just wanted to be there.

What I became was a fan.

I will never forget Spider Sabich flying down the ski hill in the late 60s. He was a madman and I was thrilled every time he took air.

I will cheer and scream when I watch the competition. I also hide under a blanket when someone crashes or gets hurt. I don’t care who has the thrill of victory and I feel sympathy for those who experience the agony of defeat. I root for all of them.

Some sports like the 50k men’s cross country ski event is just as exciting as the snow boarder who completes his event in under one minute. On any given day, anyone can win.

I love watching these athletes and I marvel at the skill, courage, and dedication they exhibit.

What I hate is the commentary. The announcers and their inane blather.

I’ve decided to write down some of the more ridiculous comments this go around. I’ll post them in batches and one at a time, because after just one day of sports so far… the things commentators say…. Well, it’s enough to drive one to drink.

For example — after the Canadian sweethearts Tessa and Scot finished the team ice dancing event, the guy with the microphone asked Scot about the technicality of the routine and then he asked Tessa about her “new dress.” AGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Then there was  the guy who stuck a microphone in the face of Charlotte Kalla after she won a gold medal in cross country skiing, and asked her when “she knew” she had won the gold…. She humbly answered… “uhm, when I crossed the finish line.”


Okay, I know the Olympics are money dependant and announcers are there for our benefit to help us understand who did what and when. Also, they do not have a script and the same stupid questions get asked of each athlete. “How does it feel to be in the Olympics?” Or worse…. “You must be so disappointed with that performance.” (Is that really a question?)

If I could be an announcers just once – It wouldn’t matter what sport they let me announce, or who they let me interview — gold medal winner or 23rd place finisher…. I can tell you absolutely that it would sound like this if you listened in to me as a commentator, with a microphone at the Olympics.

“Holy crap! Wow! Wowza! Amazing! Unbelievable! Incredible! Well done! That must be fun? You must be so proud? Good on you! Thanks for the thrill. Is there anything you’d like to say?”


by Jan

I learned a new word today. Aphantasia.

Aphantasia is the inability to visualize in your mind’s eye. The inability to picture something without actually seeing it with your physical eyes.

So, if you ask me to picture a dog in my mind I see…. nothing. If I close my eyes to see it, I see a blackness. What I can do though is pull up a memory of a dog. I can describe Laska, Lucy, Cricket or Boze easy enough. I know what a dog looks like but do I actually see it? Nope.

I’m not going to say I have this aphantasia, what I will say is I’ve never been good at visualization.

For example, I cannot visualize how I might re-arrange furniture in a room, unless I actually move the furniture to “see” if it can go there. I cannot imagine how a change may look in my head.

Ken can do this. He’ll draw plans for his projects from several different views. He’ll show me a drawing and say it’s the view from the top, or the backside. He can point it out easy enough, but I can not visualize what his project will look like, until I actually see it built.

I can describe what my friend looks like to you. But, I don’t “see” them in my minds eye – I’m not describing an image I am looking at, what I can do, is tell you what features I remember about a person, place or thing. I have a good memory.

If I close my eyes – I see black, sometimes sparkly lights.

If I’m taken on a guided meditation, of which I’ve been on many… I have the words now to tell you, that I’ve never actually “seen” the path in the woods, that I am guided to walk down. What I do, is remember, some path I’ve taken before — a place I like to go and I’ll remember a time I did walk down it. I do have an imagination and can imagine a path — but I don’t see one.

I have experienced several occasions where I’ve had, what I call my third eye open.

Three or four times in my life I’ve seen imagines in my “mind’s eye.”  These were fantastic and very enjoyable experiences. They were certainly different enough from my regular mind’s eye to give me reason, to ring the bell of enlightenment. I would love to have this happen more often.

Do I have Aphantasia? I have no idea, I don’t really care and it doesn’t changes anything. Still, I find this interesting. I know I will experiment more with my imagination and sight.

And, I’m going to start asking others — Do you see what I don’t see?