Creative Onslaught.

Saturday afternoons of late, I have been helping some friends write a musical. Currently, I am Chief Lyricist. We laugh a lot and have a lot of “Oooh, let’s do that!” ideas.

We work at The Majestic, a restaurant downtown that is mostly empty on Saturday afternoons, so they don’t mind we are there. Today there were out-of-costume drag queens there, practicing for the evening’s entertainment. All that music and energy just made me laugh out loud. Here’s us, debating over who in our story has a pregnancy scare, and there’s the queens, up on stage, wriggling around to “It’s Raining Men”.

It was awesome!

Friday Confessions….

...are a frustrating mess. (To the tune of Manic Depression)

Another week, another whine. Onwards, I say. Onwards to a place and a time when I am not stressed out by events beyond my control.

1) I have been incredibly lazy. Except for two instances of noodles and butter, and a couple of soft-boiled eggs, I have subsisted this week on leftover potato salad, birthday cake, and chips and salsa.

2) No gym. Again with the lazy.

3) I have been slacking on transcribing notes for the musical I’m helping with, blithely ignoring my own deadlines.

4) I have wanted to shout, “GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!” so much this week. And I don’t even really have that right.

5) I have been ignoring the world by playing Scrabulous. A lot.

6) Alleviated stress last night by dancing around my living room, while the cat looked at me like I was some kind of slightly alarming alien.

Over to you guys. What’s up?

Dad Update.

My father will have bypass surgery on October 29.

I am extremely freaked out. But also very relaxed and accepting. God, it’s weird to be human.

Our Old Jim.

Old Jim is one of the fixtures in my neighbourhood. I think he’s 79 years old. He fought in Korea, and has had several wives/girlfriends, and has numerous offspring, none of whom are in Vancouver. I believe his youngest son is 14 this year. Jim grows an amazing garden out back of the apartment building he lives in, and is my go-to guy for gardening advice. If you can get him to talk, he has great stories.

I was surprised and saddened when our friend Rubin said he saw Jim panhandling at Broadway and Granville. Rubin pointed out that he was probably panhandling for beer money, but to me, that’s neither here nor there.

Is the Old Age Pension so small that seniors are really struggling? I called my Old Guy Expert (My Dad), who pointed out that different people get different amounts, depending on what they put in. Maybe Jim never expected to live this long, and didn’t plan accordingly. Maybe he doesn’t mind panhandling. Anything could be possible, in the circumstances.

But it still bothers me.

Party Diva: Me!

For E’s birthday, he gets to choose what we eat, and who comes, and everything about the party. In the past, this practice has seen me cooking roast beef and all the trimmings for twenty people. Not so this birthday!


1 sunny Sunday afternoon.
1 overgrown backyard.
1 ping pong table.
2 different potato salad recipes.
Any number of different meats brought by guests.
Chips and salsa to taste.
Combine and serve however the heck you want.

Result: A fantastic, no-effort party!

Friday Confessions.

Some weeks are faster than others. This was a fast one. It felt like yesterday, I was all, “It’s still Tuesday?” and now the weekend is staring me in the face. And I do have a few things to confess. Nothing so bad. The body count didn’t get any higher.

1) I spent about a minute on what my sister-in-law wanted for her birthday. I went to and looked on her wish list. Yay for the deeply heartfelt gift that says, “Have a treatise on philosophy!” Because birthdays and philosophy go together like ice cream and ipecac. Or something.
2) I had some lovely dark chocolate. I ate it. Didn’t share it, and even kind of concealed it from the chocolate monster I live with.

3) I let E sleep on the couch until 8AM on Tuesday morning. He’d been at work until silly o’clock and fell asleep in front of Star Trek reruns. To be fair, I think he got a better sleep on the couch than I did in bed. I was wracked with coughing because I lacked the foresight to buy more cough syrup. It was the choice of waking both of us up every 15 minutes, or only me. Actually, there is nothing wrong with that. Well done, me.

4) I exaggerated slightly to get the turtle out of the Rubbermaid container and back into its natural habitat. I explained to my student’s dad that turtles carry salmonella, and I didn’t know, but wild ones might have even more diseases than pet store ones. If his son touched the turtle and then his mouth or even eye, he might catch something that would make him very sick indeed. I didn’t want to take any chances, but I had heard it was very, very dangerous to keep turtles as pets. Result: Turtle went back to the wild yesterday, and my student has less of a chance of violent diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, or vomiting.

So. What are you less than proud of this week?

Holy %&$#!

Bumbling around Facebook, I have just seen that my ex from just after high school is now with Em’s husband’s ex-girlfriend. Kind of funny, because I always wondered if she (Em’s hunsband’s ex-girlfriend) would end up with Gen’s ex-boyfriend.

And we don’t even live in a small town!

Tuesday Flash-Back-A-Decade Blogging.

Above the ragged sentries of trees marching past, the sky is the milky blue of my grandmother’s eyes. There is no longer any heat in the sun. It starts to ebb in mid-August, and it’s generally gone before I pack my car and head south down Highway 19, back into University and my term-time life. Now, a clear day is merely a gift, a respite from the unrelenting rain.

I am so tired I cannot focus on a thought for more than a moment or two. Probably I shouldn’t be driving, but there’s no other way to get back to Port Hardy from Coal Harbour, where I have been substitute teaching, even without a license.

I grin at the fireweed as it flashes past, the last, violently pink blooms giving way to the ragged wedding dresses of the seedpods. For the first time, I have lasted longer up here than the fireweed. I am not just about summer anymore. I am teaching, during the school year! Granted, I teach at Coal Harbour because they are desperate for warm, adult bodies, but it’s still a little victory.

I want to get home fast, for a nap before I start work at the Country bar. I am a cocktail waitress there, some weekdays. The take sucks, but it means I can pay my rent. The locals don’t understand why a University Girl is staying there, beyond term time. I’m already too old and too educated to be there, but I tell them it supports my teaching habit. They laugh, because I am eccentric. I like it that way.

For now, though, there is only me, the curves and dips of the wolf-coloured highway, the snaggletoothed trees, and the high, wide blessing of blue sky.


Once, a long time ago, I knew a very quiet teenage girl named Laura. She didn’t speak up much, but always had a small, sly observation on the scene around her. Sometimes, she and Emily would put on formalwear from the late 1960’s and their alter egos, The Sexy Sisters, would sing disco songs for our side-splitting delectation.

When Laura decided to go into the ministry, I was pretty awed. It’s a long process, to become a Unitarian minister. I knew she’d do it; I also knew I never could.

The ordination service was nothing like I expected, and also everything I expected. Stilt-walking didgeridoo player? Check. Hawaiian leis? Check. Speakers in foolish jester hats? Check. You know. All that serious stuff for such a serious occasion.

But that’s what happens at this church. I should know this by now: The momentous is not necessarily serious. Laughter is as likely as solemnity, and the unexpected shows us different ways of thinking about things. The jester stuff is an homage to the Faithful Fools, a street ministry group in San Francisco, with whom Laura has worked. Their premise is very Unitarian, and very central to Laura’s ideology, that every life matters. Hey, it makes sense to us. So why not have a foolish ordination?

Then, of course, at the reception in the hall, there were the old friends to catch up with: Jeff got married, had a baby, and moved to San Francisco, Crystal avoided getting married and is thankful. Emily is working at a chi chi restaurant, but she doesn’t really dig the food. Rob is a gentleman farmer in Parksville, with step kids and a tweed coat.

We are so much older than the teenagers we were, hanging out in our sunny corner room on Sunday mornings, “Psychedelic Sundays” piped in from the classic rock station. Now, our lives are well into the second and even third acts. But we still remember the easy relationships we had with one another, and how much we laughed together. In that space, at the church, it’s easy to remember that we are miles away from those kids we were, and that those kids are right there with us, all the time.

Dismantling the decorations in the hall, packing leftovers for the street kids’ drop-in centre and on-strike library workers, I felt the comfort of that community embrace me again. None of the people in the kitchen needed the labels on the drawers and cupboards; everything has been in the same place for twenty years or more. (Except the toothpicks! They moved the toothpicks. Why?) The easy familiarity of the place meant things got done smoothly and efficiently.

This is why people come back to church. Because it feels like home.


Phone: ring….ring…
Woman I Don’t Know: Hello?
Me: Hi, is Sam there?
WIDK: Yeah. Are you coming over?
Me: Why? Is there a thing?
WIDK: Yeah, you should totally come over. You want to talk to Sam?
Me: Yes, please.
Sam: Hello?
Me: Who was that? Is there a thing?
Sam: We’re painting my apartment.
Me: You don’t have an apartment.
Sam: I bought one.
Me: Wow! You’re officially the richest person I know.
Sam: I’m really not!
Me: How do you know? Anyway, I saw online that we have to RSVP for tonight.
Sam: I did, don’t worry.
Me: Okay. Can I wear jeans?
Sam: I don’t know. I’m wearing a skirt.
Me: (Histrionic Teenager Mode)But I always wear jeans to church.
Sam: It’s an ordination. You should dress up.
Me: But we belong to a lentil-based faith.
Sam: But it’s an important occasion for Laura, and there probably won’t be any lentils there. Wear a dress or something.
Me: (Big Teenage Sigh) Okay.

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