Someone to make a cup of tea for

A familiar sadness
On this October day

On The Bus In The Rain - June 9, 2010
A lot of things died when Ryan died. Almost everything.
Beauty didn't die, I still see it often.
In the sky, on the side of a building, in my weird sockless neighbour on his way back from the black and white grocery. But it's not the same as it was before. It's a whole lot sadder. Because it's fleeting. It's going to die too. Everything does.

I suppose that's why there are artists. Naively trying to keep a little bit of it around, so we can touch it, so it never dies. We are saying 'This happened! And it will never happen again just like this. Isn't it wonderful?'
But somehow, a part of me always doesn't believe it, because it's all so fuzzy now.


What the hell is a potato ricer?

I'm at the beginning again, which inevitably means I'm reminiscing about all the other beginnings  (see my last post). 

While searching for music and books in the middle of the night in my lonely old house, I remembered Nora Ephron. She can help. She wrote endlessly about divorce and cooking (as cooking for one is a constant reminder of your failed relationship thus forever connected). 

Here's an excerpt:

Nothing like mashed potatoes when you're feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter, and methodically adding a thin cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes, though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you're feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let's face it: the reason you're blue is that there isn't anyone to make them for you. As a result, most people do not have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it's almost always at the wrong time.

[From Nora Ephron's novel Heartburn (my used copy said -this book is no good - on the inside cover when I bought. I do not agree). It is also a movie starring Jack Nicholson & Meryl Streep- see here.]

And of course, the recipe:

For mashed potatoes, put 1 large (or 2 small) potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and place the potatoes back in the pot and shake over low heat to eliminate excess moisture. Peel. Put through a potato ricer and immediately add 1 tablespoon heavy cream and as much melted butter and salt and pepper as you feel like. Eat immediately. Serves one. 


Half empty at the ship and anchor.

When I sit at a barstool alone, i imagine him quietly sitting next to me, sipping on his beer, leaving to go smoke, coming back and scratching a $2 western he got at the sev.
In the other room, outside smoking, just one calling of his name away.


Cannery Row Chapter 30 Part 2

The party was about to recline and go to sleep when there was a tramp of feet on the stairs. A great voice shouted, "Where's the girls?"

Mack got up almost happily and crossed quickly to the door. And a smile of joy illuminated the faces of Hughie and Jones. “What girls you got in mind?” Mack asked softly.

“Ain’t this a whore house? Cab driver said they was one down here.”

“You made a mistake, Mister.” Mack’s voice was gay.

“Well, what’s them dames in there?”

They joined battle then. They were the crew of a San Pedro tuna boat, good hard happy fight-wise men. With the first rush they burst through to the party. Dora’s girls had each one slipped off a shoe and held it by the toe. As the fight raged by they would clip a man on the head with the spike heel. Dora leaped for the kitchen and came roaring out with a meat grinder. Even Doc was happy. He flailed about with the Chalmers 1916 piston and connecting rod.

It was a good fight. Hazel tripped and got kicked in the face twice before he could get to his feet again. The Franklin stove went over with a crash. Driven to a corner the newcomers defended themselves with heavy books from the bookcases. But gradually they were driven back. The two front windows were broken out. Suddenly Alfred, who had heard the trouble from across the street, attacked from the rear with his favorite weapon, an indoor ball bat. The fight raged down the stepsand into the street and across the lot. The front door was hanging limply from one hinge again. Doc’s shirt was torn off and his slight strong shoulder dripped blood from a scratch. The enemy was driven half-way up the lot when sirens sounded. 

Doc’s birthday party had barely time to get inside the laboratory and wedge the broken door closed and turn out the lights before the police car cruised up. The cops didn’t find anything. But the party was sitting in the dark giggling happily and drinking wine. The shift changed at the Bear Flag. The fresh contingent raged in full of hell. And then the party really got going. The cops came back, looked in, clicked their tongues and joined it. 

Mack and the boys used the squad car to go to Jimmy Brucia’s for more wine and Jimmy came back with them. You could hear the roar of the party from end to end of Cannery Row. The party had all the best qualities of a riot and a night on the barricades. The crew from the San Pedro tuna boat crept humbly back and joined the party. They were embraced and admired. A woman five blocks away called the police to complain about the noise and couldn’t get anyone. The cops reported their own car stolen and found it later on the beach. Doc sitting cross-legged on the table smiled and tapped his fingers gently on his knee. Mack and Phyllis Mae were doing Indian wrestling on the floor. And the cool bay wind blew in through the broken windows. 

It was then that someone lighted the twenty-five-foot string of firecrackers.

You're doing it wrong

Garage doors and power washers
Dog walkers and house keepers
All the dogs have anxiety
And the husbands high blood pressure
They call the dead ends cul-de-sacs
And the stillness peaceful
But it’s unnerving
And I want to go home


I used to be a camp counsellor

Sometimes I say that to a crowd of people and it's met with laughter.

'Well, that explains it!'

Usually it's when we're trying to start a fire, or put up a tarp or play a song on the guitar . All three of which I'm not very good at, because, truthfully, I wasn't a very good camp counselor.

I was only a camper for one year, at 14 years old, because my mom was the camp nurse and she got a 'deal'.

Maybe it was my counsellor singing Ani DiFranco songs, staring at the ceiling in my bunk, surrounded by equally entranced young girls that made me want to go back.

Whatever it was, I went back the following year and applied to be a counsellor. But I wasn't your average applicant, as I wore make-up, blow-dried my hair and stole my sisters clothes any chance I got.

Somehow though, I got the job.

They named me Dale after Dale Earnhardt for nearly driving off the road with a car-full of counselors the morning after a staff party.

The summer started off well.

“Your girls just love you!”
“You must be doing something right, the way your kids talk about you!”

I think kids are attracted to sensitivity, and I was both highly sensitive and extremely vulnerable at the age of 16. We related. I was still silently terrified, but as my confidence grew, so did theirs.

As the summer went on, I shyly participated in more and more activities, dressed in costumes for skits and even started teaching water activities I knew nothing about. Like the time I filled in as a kayaking teacher, only to be rescued by the kids as the wind carried me down the lake at a terrifying speed.

My camp world began to unravel the night my kids did a skit for talent show. Each of the 6 girls took turns 'playing' me – their counselor. They borrowed my signature cat-ear toque and pretended to be me, sleeping in, napping all afternoon, skipping the morning mandatory health-hustle & polar plunge, and just generally being a shitty counselor. I was mortified. They were revealing all my secrets. They were getting so many laughs – at my expense.

Did I mention I was a very tired (and lazy) teenager?

My favourite part of the evening was the 30 minute window where the kids would get ready for bed, and we'd go to the office and check e-mail/ICQ/Messenger, whatever it was we did back then. A small group of us would take turns dicking around, telling stories about our day, and prank-mailing eachother's camp inboxes. I still have some of the 'camp mail' I received, my favourite being a photocopy of Snipers hand that reads: Big hands I know you're the one. 

After our mini office rendez-vous we'd run back to the cabin for bedtime, hoping no one noticed our absence. Sometimes the girls would blow my cover by running over to the oldest boys cabins whose counselor was actually there, and tell him they couldn't find me.

But mostly they would  just dance around the cabin singing and yelling with the pre-bedtime hyperactive hysteria that always appeared at 8pm. I'm sure if I'd stayed in the cabin during this vulnerable time, it could have been avoided, but hey, I was a kid too.

Once we'd calmed them down, shoo-ed all the boy campers away from the front porch, and got them into their bunks, we'd talk about the day. Usually in Rose & Thorn style. It worked well because everybody got a turn, even the quietest kids who usually couldn't get a word in . Like I said before, these kids were sensitive, so a fun day could really turn sideways if they scraped their knee on a rock in the lake, or a cabin mate put yogurt on their face during breakfast. Talking it out was cathartic for all of us. Often the thorn was how homesick they were, which is not always obvious to a counselor. Camp was often the best part of their summer, and the most difficult, emotionally and socially. I used to take one camper to her little brothers cabin every evening to say goodnight to him and she'd cry the whole walk back to our cabin. 

After the girls would go to sleep, I'd run off into the night for an hour or two, talking and flirting and laughing with any counselor that would indulge me, hence the 'tired-lazy-teenager' the next day.

I worked at Camp Kawartha for three summers. Although I'd never win a Camp Counselor of the Year Award, the experience helped form me. I like to think I'd be better at it now, at the age of 32, and maybe I would. But I still can't kayak, and I love staying up late.


Baby it's you.

It was December 10th, 2007. One week after his birthday, but I didn't know that yet.
Georgia and I walked into Broken City for the afternoon jam. We got pints, sat in a booth and watched.

He was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. His guitar was yellow and black, and he had a cigarette hanging from his lips. He played Human Fly by The Cramps (here).

My heart fluttered. The room quieted. I knew it right then and there.
I am mad for this man, Georgia. I need to meet this man.

Like a good friend, she walked over and said as much. He came to our table and sat down and we talked for awhile.

He got up and announced it was time for him to go, walking over to the stage. I thought I was going to lose him.

 He put on a red jacket, slung his guitar over his shoulder, and returned to my table.
"Well, are you coming?" he asked.

And so I went.
And I never looked back and I never said goodbye and I never doubted it for a moment. It was him.

He died on January 7th, 2010. A week after tattooing a dot on my ankle. A tattoo that screams 'I was here and I was yours' before he left.


Cannery Row Chapter 30

The nature of parties has been imperfectly studied. It is, however, generally understood that a party has a pathology, that it is a kind of an individual and that it is likely to be a very perverse individual. And it is also generally understood that a party hardly ever goes the way it is planned or intended. This last, of course, excludes those dismal slave parties, whipped and controlled and dominated, given by ogreish professional hostesses. These are not parties at all but acts and demonstrations, about as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its end product.

Probably everyone in Cannery Row had projected his imagination to how the party would be-the shouts of greeting, the congratulation, the noise and good feeling. And it didn't start that way at all. Promptly at eight o'clock Mack and the boys, combed and cleaned, picked up their jugs and marched down the chicken walk, over the railroad track, through the lot across the street and up the steps of Western Biological. Everyone was embarrassed. Doc held the door open and Mack made a little speech. “Being as how it's your birthday, I and the boys thought we would wish you happy birthday and we got twenty-one cats for you for a present.”
He stopped and they stood forlornly on the stairs.
“Come on in,” said Doc. “Why -I'm-I'm surprised. I didn't even know you knew it was my birthday.”
“All tom cats,” said Hazel. “We didn't bring 'em down.”
They sat down formally in the room at the left. There was a long silence. “Well,” said Doc, “now you're here, how about a little drink?”
Mack said “We brought a little snort,” and he indicated the three jugs Eddie had been accumulating. “They ain't no beer in it,” said Eddie.
Doc covered his early evening reluctance. “No,” he said. “You've got to have a drink with me. It just happens I laid in some whisky.”
They were just seated formally, sipping delicately at the whisky, when Dora and the girls came in. They presented the quilt. Doc laid it over his bed and it was beautiful. And they accepted a little drink. Mr. And Mrs. Malloy followed with their presents.
“Lots of folks don't know what this stuff's going to be worth,” said Sam Malloy as he brought out the Chalmers 1916 piston and connecting rod. “There probably isn't three of these here left in the world.”
And now people began to arrive in droves. Henri came in with a pincushion three by four feet. He wanted to give a lecture on his new art form but by this time the formality was broken. Mr. And Mrs. Gay came in. Lee Chong presented the great string of firecrackers and the China lily bulbs. Someone ate the lily bulbs by eleven o'clock but the firecrackers lasted longer. A group of comparative strangers came in from La Ida. The stiffness was going out of the party quickly. Dora sat in a kind of throne, her orange hair flaming. She held her whisky glass daintily with her little finger extended. And she kept an eye on the girls to see that they conducted themselves properly. Doc put dance music on the phonograph and he went to the kitchen and began to fry the steaks.
The first fight was not a bad one. One of the groups from La Ida made an immoral proposal to one of Dora's girls. She protested and Mack and the boys, outraged at this breach of propriety, threw him out quickly and without breaking anything. They felt good then, for they knew they were contributing.
Out in the kitchen Doc was frying up steaks in three skillets, and he cut up tomatoes and piled up sliced bread. He felt very good. Mack was personally taking care of the phonograph. He had found an album of Benny Goodman's trios. Dancing had started, indeed the party was beginning to take on depth and vigor. Eddie went into the office and did a tap dance. Doc had taken a pint with him to the kitchen and he helped himself from the bottle. He was feeling better and better. Everybody was surprised
when he served the meat. Nobody was really hungry and they cleaned it up instantly. Now the food set the party into a kind of rich digestive sadness.

The whisky was gone and Doc brought out the gallons of wine.
Dora, sitting enthroned, said “Doc, play some of that nice music. I get Christ awful sick of that juke box over home.”
Then Doc played Ardo and the Amor from an album of Monteverdi. And the guests sat quietly and their eyes were inward. Dora breathed beauty. Two newcomers crept up the stairs and entered quietly. Doc was feeling a golden pleasant sadness. The guests were silent when the music stopped. Doc brought out a book and he read in a clear deep voice:

Even now
If I see in my soul the citron-breasted fair one
Still gold-tinted, her face like our night stars,
Drawing unto her;her body beaten about with
Wounded by the flaring spear of love,
My first of all by reason of her fresh years,
Then is my heart buried alive in snow.
Even now
If my girl with lotus eyes came to me again
Weary with the dear weight of young love,
Again I would give her to these starved twins of
And from her mouth drink down the heavy wine,
As a reeling pirate bee in fluttered ease
Steals up the honey from the nenuphar.
Even now
If I saw her lying all wide eyes
And with collyrium the indent of her cheek
Lengthened to the bright ear and her pale side
So suffering the fever of my distance,
Then would my love for her be ropes of flowers,
and night
A black-haired lover on the breasts of day.
Even now
My eyes that hurry to see no more are painting,
Faces of my lost girl. O golden rings
That tao against cheeks of small magnolia leaves,
O whitest so soft parchment where
My poor divorced lips have written excellent
Stanzas of kisses, and will write no more.
Even now
Death sends me the flickering of powdery lips
Over wild eyes and the pity of her slim body
All broken up with the weariness of joy;
The little red flowers of her breasts to be my comfort
Moving above scarves, and for my sorrow
Wet crimson lips that once I marked as mine.
Even now
They chatter her weakness through the two bazaars
Who was so strong to love me. And small men
That buy and sell for silver being slaves
Crinkle the fat about their eyes; and yet
No Prince of the Cities of the Sea has taken her,
Leading to his grim bed. Little lonely one,
You clung to me as a garment clings; my girl.
Even now
I love long black eyes that caress like silk,
Ever and ever sad and laughing eyes,
Whose lids make such sweet shadow when they
It seems another beautiful look of hers.
I love a fresh mouth, ah, a scented mouth,
And curving hair, subtle as smoke,
And light fingers, and laughter of green gems.
Even now
I remember that you made answer very softly,
We being one soul, your hand on my hair,
The burning memory rounding your near lips:
I have seen the priestesses of Rait make love at
moon fall
And then in a carpeted hall with a bright gold lamp
Lie down carelessly anywhere to sleep
Phyliss Mae was openly weeping when he stopped and Dora herself dabbed at her eyes. Hazel was so taken by the sound of the words that he had not listened to their meaning. But a little world-sadness had slipped over all of them. Everyone was remembering a lost love, everyone a call.Mack said “Jesus, that's pretty. Reminds me of a dame-” and he let it pass. They filled the wine glasses and became quiet. The party was slipping away in sweet sadness. Eddie went out in the office and did a little tap dance and came back and sat down again. The party was about to recline and go to sleep when there was a tramp of feet on the stairs. A great voice shouted, “Where's the girls?”


What brought you to Calgary?

A van.

And then every single person that has ever asked me that question laughs, because I guess they expected something along the lines of: a job, or a boy, or to start a new life, but in every single way it was a van that brought us here.

This van to be exact:

It started before the van, though.

It started at Blue Skies, where we watched the D Rangers from Winnipeg, but had to hitchhike back to Peterborough because Georgia had to work at the Mustang Drive-In that Saturday night.

Hank told us to keep our wits about us and put on pants before we left, but instead we made this useless sign and took off. Then we hitchhiked back to Blue Skies for some reason on Sunday morning.

The highway travelling was more exhilarating than anything I'd done up that point, including film school, so why the hell not drive across Canada. Atleast I'd have something to write about.

The van was $100 and the German mechanic wouldn't approve it's safety until the rust holes were patched up with this green gook and patches. We did our best, but in the end he just rolled his eyes and did it for us.

We took off on September 5th despite the multiple warnings and predictions from family and friends. We had to turn back after 5 minutes cause Georgia forgot her cellphone. We drove by my shitty job and Georgia threw my red-t-shirt/uniform out the window where it landed in the middle of the intersection.

We stopped at a North Bay laundromat to put Georgia's clothes in the dryer as they were wet in a garbage bag for a completely normal reason. After North Bay we decided to drive non-stop until we got the fuck out of Ontario.

We camped in Wawa but couldn't cook our steak due to a fireban, so we drank all night without eating. Then one of us slept in the tent while the other slept in the van cause we were in a fight.

The next morning we finally did it. We drove into Manitoba, a completely new province.
I immediately got a Safeway card and then we went to the Winnipeg Folk Festival where the D Rangers were playing.

They let us stay at their house, but then they left us alone cause they had band practice. Jaxon's only advice was to not eat too many cookies. We did, and when they came home we were speechlessly high. We left in the morning without saying goodbye/thanks cause we were too embarrassed. (They also had a van-twin of ours parked in their backyard which blew our minds post-cookie).

I don't remember much about Regina, except we had hamburgers and beers at a nightclub.

As we approached Calgary, it started to piss down rain and our wipers were shit. We stopped at a gas station and learned how to put on new wipers, in the rain. (recently we had to do the same with Carolyn Mark on our way to Frog Fest!).

As we drove into the city in our van full of blankets, I called my friend Chris Bowen who was the only person I knew that lived in Calgary. He revealed that he never actually thought we were coming. We took the wrong exit because Georgia got too excited, and when we finally got downtown, the van immediately got towed and then we had another fight.

And that is what brought us to Calgary.


The 7 Day Pedestrian Challenge

I've created a series of walking routes that everyday folks can take to get a glimpse of what it's like to be car-less in Calgary. Ideally,  politicians/decision-makers would be required to, before making decisions that affect only pedestrians and cyclists.

Created after years of passive-aggressively storming around crosswalks, by blending my personal experience with Dustin Jones' research into the most dangerous intersections in the city of Calgary - based on pedestrian-vehicle accidents (see here). 

The Rules:
  • Walk one route per day 
  • Try to walk on a day that the temperature is below -10 (and snowing!), as inclement weather is a major factor in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, and may affect yours and others' behaviour. 
  • When you're safe to do so, record your findings, including other pedestrians behaviour, vehicles' behaviour, and near-misses. 
Route 1

This is an easy one. Hide your car keys, and head to the Calgary Transit website. Find the route from your home to your work, and take it. This route will be unique to each person, and will most definitely involve some walking. A $3 transit ride certainly beats $21 to park all day. No cheating - you must take transit home too!

Route 2

Have a friend drop you at the Greyhound station with a small bag; you're going to pretend you've just arrived here from another city. Unfortunately you don't have any change for the bus, and there's no ATM. Try walking from the Greyhound station, to the closest C-train station. Go!

Route 3

You have a meeting at the Currie Barracks in unit J2, and you don't have a car. No problem. You work at 17th ave and 14th st. and on a map, it looks like a breezy ride up Crowchild on a Calgary Transit bus. Starting at 17th ave and 14th st. walk up 17th ave. to the bus stop on Crowchild. Get off at the Currie Barracks and find unit J2.

Route 4

It's Friday - 4pm - and you're at The Deane House (beside Fort Calgary) for afternoon tea. You heard that Inglewood is a fantastic neighbourhood for local shopping. You want to visit Fair is Fair book store, Inglewood Art Supplies, Recordland, and then some antique shops. Starting at the Deane House, Cross 9th ave. to Fair is Fair (be sure to press the walk button - otherwise your signal will never come on). After Fair is Fair, head east to the next crosswalk and cross again to get to the art shop. Head east on 9th ave. until you reach Recordland. Flip through some 45s, and when you get bored after 2 or 3 hours, go outside and cross to the south side to go antiquing. Be careful of the red light runners at this time on a Friday and Happy antiquing!

Route 5

You're visiting your 29 year old daughter from Toronto. She's an engineer in the oil & gas industry in Calgary and you're so proud. Unfortunately there's no room in her condo for you, so you have to stay at the Holiday Inn on Macleod Trail. While she's at work you decided to walk up to the mall to do some shopping. Starting at the Holiday Inn on Macleod Trail and 42nd ave., take a walk up to Chinook Mall. You're pretty healthy for a 67 year old, but a little slower than you used to be. Slow down 50% when crossing Macleod Trail.  

Route 6

Now we head to Forest Lawn, where there's an array of international grocers you like to frequent. Unfortunately, they're a little spread out. Starting at Hong Kong Grocers at 3215 17th ave SE, head east. 17th ave or International Ave. has long stretched out blocks, which means a lot of space between lights. Try crossing at a few of the 'marked crosswalks' and check out all the stores you've meant to visit, but never made it out to. I promise you'll meet some interesting folks. Calgary's celebrated Chicken On The Way is on the strip, as is Cash Converters-that store from the 90s!

Alright, you're done!
How was it? Did you learn anything new?


Calgary's +15

I moved to Calgary in 2005 for no real reason except Georgia said I’d like it. We bought a van for $100 and the rest is..... a completely different story.

I came from Toronto, where there's an underground subway, underground pathway, and underground music scene. Calgary, on the other hand,  has no underground activity. Trains and pathways are both above-ground, taking advantage of Calgary's 333 sunny days a year.

The Calgary pathway is actually 15 ft above the ground, and simply a series of tunnels connecting one building to the next. It's cleverly called The +15.

The history of the +15, built in 1969 can be found here: The Endless Interior

Oftentimes, tourists aren't aware of the +15, and even some locals can't be bothered to figure out the twisting and turning path. All you really have to do is look for the little cowboy cutie on the sign!

The +15 was also featured in a film called Waydowntown (2002) by Canadian filmmaker Gary Burns. It’s about a group of young office workers who bet they can spend an entire year going from work to home, without ever having to go outside. It's funny and they all lose their minds, much like some oil and gas folks do. Waydowntown Trailer

This winter, after months of being terribly cold, I finally discovered a route running 8 blocks from my work to my bus stop. This was my first real experience taking the +15 daily, and I was delighted to find it was full of strange and wonderful things. 

In most cities, you usually wouldn't frequent the office buildings very much. I never realized how ridiculous some of them are. The new ones make me feel like a slob with their indoor trees, leather couches and fancy Italian coffee shops. The floors, walls and ceilings are all made of pure marble, I'm pretty sure.

The older ones make me feel like I’m in the ‘80’s during Calgary’s first big oil boom, like I could light up a cigarette inside and no one would care. There is a hair salon called Mane Street, a travel agency and a convenience store called "The Things". There's a sort of overall light brown corduroy feeling, and overwhelming smells of crappy coffee and chinese soup. Even the men in their brown suits sitting at the cafeteria look like they've been sitting there for 35 years. 

There is one stretch of my walk that is unrivaled. It’s called the Udderly Art Legacy Pasture. The story is that in the 1990’s, as a nod to the Alberta cattle industry, the city had 125 life-sized fiberglass cows made and painted by local artists, then displayed all over downtown. It was the largest display of street art that Calgary ever saw. They were referred to simply as 'The Cows'.

I'm not sure how long they stood, but often I hear people wonder "Where did all the cows go?" Well have I got a treat for you, I found them! They're chilling in my sunny walk to work!

And Georgia was right. 


..if I don't keep blowing air into it.

After Ryan died I signed up for grief counselling and waited 8 weeks for the class to start.
I put so much on the counselling; everything, in fact. I thought it was going to fix me.

When the day finally came, I was dropped off at Rockyview Hospital where it was being held in the chapel.

It wasn't the same hospital that Ryan died in, but from now on, all hospitals will feel like the same hospital.

I was early so I got a coffee from Good Earth, and as I put sugar in it, realized why I was feeling so giddy. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Somewhere deep down in my subconscious, I had decided that he was still lying in a hospital bed somewhere and I was finally going to get to see him again.

The subconscious is a motherfucker.

"You think you're going to see him, you stupid stupid girl".
What they don't tell you is that it doesn't just happen once, it happens over and over again. 

So I walked my mind through what it had wanted. Me and my coffee walking down the hall to his room, and strolling right in. But that's where my dream ended. 

It makes sense. That was where I left him. I missed him wholly; my life was upheaved, and now I was back where I'd left him and I was going to finally see his beautiful face.

Grief is fucked. I lost it. Losing it in a hospital, however, is sort of ok.

Grief counselling, although not what I expected, was helpful. It reminded me that death is everywhere, and my complete world destruction was not unique, only a part of life. This was a necessary piece of advice, because grief can be harmful when full-strength.

To the land of the living grief is sadness, but I can tell you it's also selfish, delusional, irrational and mean.


I dream my painting and I paint my dream - Vincent Van Gogh

If you've lost someone you love, then you know the temporary joy you get in waking up from a dream where you were hand in hand.


Why we love some animals, and eat others

In light of a recent animal abuse case in Calgary, prompting thousands of people to raise money as an award for turning in the abuser, I would like to discuss animals.

Why we love some.
And why we eat others.

I am a meat eater.
I am an animal lover.

Countless times I have tried to make the transition to vegetarianism. Inevitably, I needed a stronger will. I've been bending my morals to suit my taste for so many years, that the excuses and justifications come rushing back.

I recently watched Melanie Joy speak (author of 'Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows') and she pointed me in the right direction, providing me with a little more ammunition.

Read here: Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows.
or watch here: Presentation

The story that hit me the hardest:

A dairy cow had given birth; it was her fifth calf. Like the other four, within 24 hours of giving birth the calf was taken away. Her milk is reserved solely for human consumption.

Her calf was either taken to a veal farm, or given the opportunity to grow for two years and become regular beef.

When the calf was taken away, however, this mother dairy cow stopped producing milk.
The farmers couldn't understand why, and did countless tests on her, but remained clueless. This never happened when the other calves were taken away.

A week later, a farmer noticed her going to a remote part of the field, the same spot, everyday. When he investigated, he found that she had given birth to twins, two calves. She had Sophie's choiced it, and gave one up, while hiding the other. She had remembered from previous births, that her calf was going to be taken away, and she had decided to hide the other. This cow, like the other billion that exist on this earth, is a sentient, thoughtful creature and mother.

Did you know that when we eat eggs, a male chick had to die, because males don't produce eggs?
And he doesn't go by way of lethal injection, he rides down a conveyor belt with his buddies into a wood-chipper style machine, alive.

As I walked through Nose Hill Park today, encountering dozens of people and their beloved pets, I thought about the poor case of a dog and cat found last week, starved to death with their mouths taped shut, in an alley. People are outraged. I am outraged. We care so much about our dogs, cats, and the animals at the zoo. But have been taught to ignore the ones on our plates.

Melanie Joy asked, when was the last time you saw a chicken? Or a cow? Or spent time with a pig? There's a reason these animals are hidden away, seen only in the form of meat. Yet, there are billions of them all around us.

But I am a hypocrite.
And I must educate myself, because I cannot blindly go through life, deciding this is ok, and that is not.

If you are interested in spending time with rescued farm animals, and learning about vegetarianism, check out RASTA Rescue & Sanctuary south of Calgary. www.rastarescue.org
(I am not affiliated with RASTA, and these opinions expressed are solely my own)


Four years is 1,460 days.

It was the worst day of my life.

It was so painful that I made a deal with the universe. If you can't bring him back then propel me forward. In time. I want to go far into the future, to a date that will allow me to breathe again.


Pinky and the brain.

This year, I think I’ll prioritize brain health.  I’ll sleep a bit more, learn to give it some rest by turning it off for periods of time....