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Thursday, March 31, 2011

SEATTLE, Hotel Olympic Fairmont

Pip and Tabs

Our Suite


Pip and I

The customs officer threw out an entire bag of our navel oranges at the border--I forgot about not bringing in oranges. They were from California! The entire family has arrived. At first I was going to fly by myself, but then it is spring-break so I wanted to bring the girls and then, since the girls were all coming, Peter decided he wanted to join us. He arrived home last night from Vancouver so we all drove down here together.

I met with my supervisor yesterday morning before we left--found out the thesis changes I need to make. Thus, this morning I must hang back at the hotel and work. Peter and the girls will explore. I hope 4 hours of work will do the trick--I don't want to miss all of the Seattle fun. I like the hotel Olympic. Reminds Mist and I of The Sound of Music house on a larger scale. There is a grand piano on the balcony level above the lobby. Tabs played all of her music festival pieces on it last night and it was beautiful. Mist was too shy.

Last night we went swimming and out to an Italian Restaurant, Palomino.
I will go to the gym and then to Starbucks to work for a while.
Seattle is so much like Vancouver. I like it. It is very green and lush and all of the spring blossoms are out. But of course, it does nothing but rain on the coast! Once I'm finished the thesis revisions, I hope to join the rest of the gang and walk to the Pike Market walk and visit the Seattle Art Gallery.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Another one of my photos made it in the Globe and Mail. It's in there today #6, I believe. It's a pic I took in the Taman Negara Jungle--we were visiting a Batek Tribe settlement far down the Trembling River. The pic is of the inside of a poisonous blow-dart storage case. It is made from bamboo. The darts and case are 100% formed from various trees in the jungle, including the poison which is a boiled sap from yet another tree. I watched a man in the tribe make these darts from start to finish... I miss the jungle! The poison is enough to stop a human heart. They actually aim for as close to the heart as possible so as to not have the poison spread through the victim's body and make it toxic to eat. Although the Batek tribe is one a few tribes still allowed to hunt tigers in Malaysia, they choose not to because of their rarity. They mainly hunt monkeys and smaller creatures.

So, April cannot get any crazier. My thesis defense is April 11. My paper is only now being read by my supervisor and internal committee. I am leaving for Seattle tomorrow, to train for 2 Zumba instructor courses (adults and kids). I get home late, Sunday evening and have my committee meeting the very next morning. Then, I have until the 11th to perfect my thesis and prepare my defense (1/2 h Power Point on my thesis). I leave on the 13th for a ten day silent meditation retreat in the mountains off the Coquihalla--between Merrit and Hope. I have one day to make any changes needed for my thesis before it must be sent in to UBC in order for me to graduate this spring (April 15 cut off for this year).

Yes, I am a little freaked by it all. But I will do it. Up, day and night to get it perfected.
And I am going to complete 3 painting by June 1 so I can show this fall at Lake Country Art walk. It is a juried show, so let us hope I make it in. Then, I will complete 3-7 more for September 1. I am still planning to get to France this summer for the Renaissance course. I figure it won't be long until I can make a decent income from my paintings alone. Add that to income from teaching and it will be nice. And of course, when my writing starts to generate an income....It will be even nicer.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Under the Apple Tree

Catherine, Theresa, Miranda (with doll) and me.
My sisters and I circa late 70s.

I am feeling overwhelmed. Trying to organise my thesis defense and graduate, apply for a BC teaching certificate (requires 8 different institutions/ people references , etc., and over $400) and find a good job, and get Zumba certified in 2 levels, not to mention get back into trying to publish my novels and start a wildlife painting collection to show at Art Walk--must apply for that too. I can't let any of them go because I need my eggs in many baskets at this time because I don't know what will be my ticket to a good income yet. Life isn't a lot of fun at the moment. All work and no play.

Leaving for Seattle on Wednesday. Found out Zumba Atomics (kids) is being taught both in Seattle and Abottsford on the 3rd--thus I have a better chance of getting in.
Peter is in Vancouver until Tuesday.

Have been going to a lot of movies to break up my work. Quit Salsa because as much as I love the dance, I couldn't take the singles market. All the dancers are either in couples or singles on the make and I'm not up for that atmosphere at this stressful time in my life. 

Pip and I are a Starbucks this morning, waiting for Mist and Tabs to finish with a morning piano lesson. We can't get into Pip's computer, thus she is bored and I cannot work. Will surrender this computer to her momentarily so she can go on Club Penguin :(
Just when my novel editing is going great too.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Me in the Middle

2 of my sisters and I  when we were small: Theresa (tallest) , that's me in the middle (with a sandwich)  and Catherine (with the slinky)

I scanned some of my childhood pictures onto my computer recently. This is one of my favourites. I think I'm 3.

Judy Chicago was brilliant last night. I love listening to women artists and their struggles. I makes me feel not so alone. And let me tell you, the art community is extremely sexist and she has suffered. Even when her shows were deemed great successes, she still made little money and had an impossible time getting other galleries to show her work. She is an inspiration. Of course, after the show I discovered the car battery was dead and I had earlier given my cell to Mist. No phone and a dead car, down town, alone at night. Typical. I ran back to the art centre and luckily for me the bistro was open and they let me use their phone.

Feeling a smidgen of happiness because I found out I can apply for a BC teaching certificate without doing another internship. YAY! It opens up a new job field for me right now. Tomorrow I am applying for my certificate.

The issue for Zumba is I will receive my Basic 1 training on Saturday (next) in Seattle, Washington and then the very next morning in Abbotsford, BC is Zumba Kids training. The catch is that they won't let me sign up for the course until I officially have my B1. So, there is a chance that the Zumba kids class will fill up before I can register (the night before at the earliest).  I'll have to get up in Seattle at the crack of dawn and be in Abbotsford by 8 a.m. That means a 4:30 a.m. wake up on Sunday. I'll give it a shot.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

South Thompson River, BC

My girls and Toby the dog

My dad

My parents yard backs onto the South Thompson River




My mom and I

Pip, "Let's pick up sticks mom and then we can play Harry Potter. Who do you want to be Mom?"

Granny and the girls

Mist and Tabs
Tabs and Pip enjoyed their trip to visit my parents. Mist and I enjoyed our night as well. My mom made salted-carmel sundae sauce---I ate too much. Walking behind my parents house is always pleasant except today, we learned we had picked up an unwelcome hitch-hiker. Little Pip had a big, fat, tick on the top of her head. I tried to get it off with tweezers but it wouldn't budge and Pip was really starting to cry in pain--it was holding onto her scalp for good. Took her to the doctor and had the doctor remove it. It finally came attached to a hunk of her scalp. Pip cried a lot.
Tonight I will attend a talk downtown by Judy Chicago about women artists. My girls are going to a play down town tonight "Alice in Wonderland." Mist's friend Ashley has a part in it.
The job search is nothing short of depressing. I have eight years of post secondary education and for what??? I have options though: keep going with graduate work (PhD or MFA). Try to get into the k-12 system again, or keep trudging along looking for work at what ever I can get. 

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Nordic Skiing at Silver Star

Nordic skiing at Silver Star was amazing. It was a warm day with bright sun. At first, skiing down small hills felt very strange--not having my boots secured onto the ski (like alpine skiing) was unnerving. But once I got used to it, everything got easier. Nordic is a lot of work--a really good cardio workout compared to alpine. We skied for 2 hours, then had a lunch break and skied for another hour. The trails were private, in deep forest at a high altitude with beautiful mountain vistas. Miranda and I had a great day. 

My littlest girls are visiting their grandparents--Mistaya and I will travel to Kamloops tomorrow to pick them up and stay the night. Mistaya has been busy making bizarre YouTube movies with a friend.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

I Love Gay Men

Gay men are the best. Strangers will come up to me with the nicest compliments and it is usually a gay man.

Yesterday, I was walking down town, going to meet some friends at a restaurant for lunch. As I walked by,  a couple of gay men (holding hands) walked by me and smiled at me. They kept walking ahead but one kept turning around and giving me the best smiles, then he said "Hello glamorous." I had to smile back--he was adorable. This continued for awhile and then he turned around and said, "I love your boots." I thanked him. So I ended up passing them and entering the Twisted Tomato--and guess who followed me in--they sat at the bar while I joined my friends for lunch. They were a sweet couple.
I really like downtown. I could live down there. I love being able to walk everywhere.

I had a great day--made 2 lunch dates at once--one at noon the other at one. I managed to make them both and ended up having good talks with 3 friends I have neglected.

Today I feel tired though--so tired. Taking it easy. Why not? I work out like crazy all week so once in awhile it is ok to rest. Though I have salsa tonight...don't feel like going at this point.

March break is upon me. Tomorrow Peter wil drive Tabs and Pip to their Granny and Granddad's. I will pick them up with Mist on Tuesday and drive home Wednesday. Next week we're off to Seattle.

I have a busy spring lined up for myself: A Vipassana retreat, a Zumba training workshop (s), two conferences to present at (May and June), a Rennaisance Painiting workshop, submitting my thesis study for publishing in journals, submitting 2 novels for publishing, and photographing lots of wild life for my painitings--and applying for jobs non-stop.
 Not to mention making sure my girls have a great summer. Because this season is dedicated to establishing my career, family trips will be local camping trips, I think. Because I have to go to France and Spain (conference) might be an option in late summer too. Although, Peter is taking the girls to Saskatoon and then Nelson for 2 conferences. The little darlings will visit their relatives and hopefully not miss too much school!
Feeling good about teaching painting workshops in the fall--I can make decent money,  I think.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Morning on the Mountain

Went for an amazing run this morning on the back of the mountain. The sun was shining...just me and Fernando and the mountain....Loved it. I brought my camera. I need a compact one. I have to bring my giant Rebel with me. It is hard when I run. But, luckily for me I have little girls. My mom gave Pip a fairy princess miniature backpack that fit my camera perfectly. I ran with the tiny lavender fairy pack strapped to my back. Will purchase a compact camera soon..my girls each have a good one but they seldom let me borrow them. Mist is like: Never. Tabs will lend hers on occasion.
Tonight I am going indoor boulder climbing with my big girls. Tabs is home with a tummy ache--will she if she is up for it.

Nothing feels more at home to me than being out in nature, exploring. That is why I love real life adventure stories--I can relate to the protagonist's thirst for outdoor adventure. I rented 127 Hours last night. Difficult to watch. James Franco was great.

Being female, I have the advantage of estrogen. It protects me from doing any really stupidly dangerous stuff. It protects my brain so well in fact, that I get surges of terror at the thought of some dangerous stuff. So I suppose I have the best of both worlds: the thirst for outdoor adventure with the balance of being safe--I have 3 little girls counting on me.

Applied for 2 jobs and an internship (UNESCO) yesterday. I have concocted a schedule for myself. Some days and hours I job search, then I have hours and days for painting and more for writing. I have it all figured out. I'll probably be really shocked when I actually get a job and have to give up my schedule.
Tuesdays I'm going to try open studio at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Sure, I'll have to haul a giant, wet oil canvas back and forth...but it can't be that difficult.
I am going to start my modernist/wildlife series based on my own photos of wildlife. I am driving to a wolf wildlife-sanctuary on the May long weekend--near Golden BC--to photograph wild wolves. I hike through the nature reserve with a guide and can get really close to the pack of wolves that live in the park. My spring and summer spare hours will be spent tramping through wilderness taking wild life photos...I live for this stuff.

As far as writing, I have already started back on the final edit of "Queen of the Godforsaken."
And my painting instructor in France is trying to wrangle a new painting class for me later in the summer so I can attend :)
Things are looking up!

My therapist says I need to find more girl friends.  I agree...but I was raised with 3 sisters. We only ever counted on each other. Sometimes raised on remote acreages. We were like the Bronte sisters: isolated, creative and occasionally crazy.
Girl friends don't come easy for me. I was spoiled with my sisters...we never really needed anyone else in our tight click. But now, we are adults, we definitely need more girlfriends as it's not healthy to only have a sister click...so I am trying. Wish me luck--meeting a couple of old classmates for lunch today.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Thesis is Finished

Mistaya in one of her many Harry Potterish alter egos.

Finished my THESIS!!!
I sent the first completed copy away to 2 of my validators and my supervisor: 135 pages of pure genius 

The formatting was hell: making sure all five levels of headings were consistant, pages numbers matching all the headings, all figures matching page numbers... 

Busy applying for jobs.
My girl's march break starts next week. They will visit their Granny and Granddad for a few days and go to Seattle with me (we may pick up Peter on our way to Seattle in Vancouver as he will be there for meetings as we drive through). We'll stay at the Seattle Hotel Fairmont for 4 nights: tour Seattle for a few days and then I do the Zumba workshop and head home.

Excited to see Judy Chicago speak next week about women artists. No matter what job I do to pay the bills, my heart belongs to my painting and writing. Excited at the thought that my M.A. is nearly done and I can PAINT again and work on publishing 'Queen of the Godforsaken." 

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Through Endurance I Conquer

Hope this is the last you see of me in a toque this season. Down town rink is closed, I don't think I'll ski again until next fall--bring on the sun!

Busy week:
Attended a talk by Dr. Samantha Nutt--War Child Canada founder. Inspirational for me as it fired up my passion for global literacy of girls and women. I am applying for a 1-3 month internship with UNESCO--I have all the right qualifications at this point in time (just finished a graduate degree). If I get the internship (I'm applying to work in Global Education)--it will open doors for jobs in global literacy I hope!

Finishing the last edits of my thesis and applying for jobs at the same time--a very busy time. 
To cope with everything I pull out a few saving graces:

I have two personal mottos that pull me through life. One I shared with you already:
Touch me not for I am free; wild to hold though I seem tame.
The second I share with Ernest Shackleton:
Through endurance I conquer.

In addition, I am looking at all of the work and challenges ahead of me as adventures. Hard yes, but I always get quite excited about an adventure, so I believe this attitude will help me forge ahead in life and conquer...
And the ten day Vipassana meditation retreat next month will train my mind in peacefulness.

The girls and I are having a 'girl's weekend' as Peter is in Victoria at a conference. Luckily, Victoria is on the inside of the island, against the coast, as the Tsunami may break 25 m waves on the BC coast today.
So, the girls and I are dining out for supper, probably Joey's. And then I have salsa. Tomorrow night a party at Miranda and John's.
And what else? A West Coast Road trip for March break for me and my gals--I'm taking them to Seattle with me. We'll tour the city and they can have one relaxing hotel day while I train for Zumba.

--Gotta go apply for a job I really want at Okanagan College! Just have to fill out the form, attach my CV and covering letter and voila!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There are No Bridges Between Motherhood and Womanhood

Mistaya and Tabitha on Sunday at a piano recital.
I have been doing nothing but working out, and writing on my thesis--attempting to cook occasionally and do laundry when absolutely necessary.
My dear sweet Pip's birthday party will be postponed until April when I have the time to really focus on making it a fabulous party. A rushed party right now isn't going to work.

I am looking forward to going to Seattle at the end of the month. I am taking basic Zumba-I training. I will then be able to start teaching. I want to take 2 more workshops very soon after Seattle. Basic Zumba-II and Kids-Zumba. No one is offering II or kids around the globe right now. Zumba is so hot all they're doing all training in basic only. But, once Z-I is under my belt (April 2nd) I will take the other workshops. I am excited to teach the kids especially as Tabs so wants to be in my class.
I'll be able to teach while I look for the big job. The big job will be in teaching fine arts, English, communications or digital media or in corporate education or in digital communications or in online journalism/editing. These are my fields to start looking in.
I'm only going to do workshops that advance my career for a while (or make me money) thus Zumba and Renaissance painting techniques are the only ones I'm interested in at the moment.
My job will be my income, my passions will be painting and writing fiction. Zumba is simply for fun.

I have so very much to say about life...but I am still swimming like mad against fierce ocean currents so I am in no position to tread water and chat about it. My life is upside down and inside out still. Once I reach shore, I may share some of my scars and learned truths with you. But for now I am just simply swimming in the currents.

My life is in the biggest transition since parenthood. A big time of growth, however painful and confusing. I believe for a woman there are three major stages of growth: childhood, parenthood and womanhood. Womanhood does not come when a girl turns 21. It comes much later when she realizes the time has come to become autonomous and authentic. So I am morphing from being a mommy into a woman and it hurts. Of course I'll always be a mommy but it's the womanhood thing that rips one apart.

In our modern society there are no bridges, no footpaths to follow. Motherhood and womanhood are divided. Every woman has to find a way to build her own bridge and manage the rolls. No woman crosses her self-made bridge without some scars. I am not alone. Every mother has or will reach the point when someway, somehow she must become both or die trying. A few give up...finding the journey too painful. These women are not happy women.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Way Back

Pip at the age of her passport photo

The Way Back--an amazing movie. Just got in from a night out at the movies. I love real life adventure/survival stories. This one was good. Colin Farrel is a favourite actor of mine and as usual he was good. I like Ed Harris too.

Salsa dance lessons are proving to be outside my box on many levels. There are actually more males than females in the class. Every minute we change partners. So, I dance with about twelve different men all night. This is the outside the box stuff. When in life must one touch twelve strange men in an intimate closeness and work together with each man to create a dance within a 45 minute class?
Most of the men are lovely, gentlemen. And some are strange but tolerable. But one man is not tolerable. He is so strange and horrible. He was the only man that would not give his name, "call me what ever you want." Oh, if only I would have...
He is so terrified of me and perhaps all humans in general? A very petite man with slicked back hair dyed black--and a gold chain on his neck. Anyway, he was a horrible dancer yet did nothing but correct every single move I did or did not make and everytime he F'd up--blamed it on me.
Such an interaction challenges every facet of my being. To touch this guy, to try and dance with this creep, to tune out his incessant corrections...
So, if the man shows up again next week, I will put my finger to my lips and say ,"shhh...no talking, it makes me loose focus." And if that doesn't work I will explain to the instructor that I just cannot dance with the guy.
The dancing part is great and I already made a new friend in the class. It is the "dancing with creeps" that is difficult--could be a new reality show.

So insanely busy trying to wrap up my thesis. I seem to have several appointments each day that take up so much of my day, I feel I don't have the time to write! I am on the home stretch--just final editing and formatting stuff. I've come a very long way. I hope it is all good and I don't have mammoth corrections ahead of me.

March break will soon be upon us. Many plans to make--Peter and I might take the girls somewhere tropical. I need some major sunshine and vitamin D. Pip's passport just expired so must run around and get that renewed on Monday. She is just such a tiny baby in her passport photo! Will need to get a new pic taken tomorrow.

Tonight, Tabitha and two friends and Pip are having a sleepover party downstairs. They are great girls and enjoy letting Pip join their party. Of course, little Pip is all too pleased to chum around with the big girls. Mist was at a sleep over party last night, so tonight she relaxes upstairs with her own movie while the little girl party is in full swing downstairs.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

A Little Bit More About Those Girls...

***sorry, having trouble uploading an audio file. Blogger seems to only accept video...will try and get this up for you soon.

Pip sent me the voice mail yesterday. She is a computer whizz! She gets into facebook and leaves messages on her sisters walls!
Mist and I did a little shopping last evening. She is a girl who knows exactly what she wants in the fashion department--just like her mom :)

I had to go out on an appointment the other day and Tabs was home after school looking after Pip. She decided to walk down to the neighborhood park with Pip. This is the note she left for me:
(it shows how I have coached her in my paranoia about what to do if a stranger approaches her).

Dear Mom,
Gone to park with Pip.
We are looking both ways.
I know the rules.
Scream if anyone comes near me.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Touch me not because I am free; wild to hold though I seem tame.

Me taken on photo booth, right now...swimming for shore.
(yes, I am as bad as my daughters for taking photo booth self portraits)

I have personally been involved in a battle. 

However, I have had major life battles when I was so ill, I wanted someone to shoot me to take me out of the pain. And other times when I had such severe anxiety, I wanted to run in front of a train, to escape the feelings that were chasing me...So, in the scheme of my life, this is a battle but not the same as a life and death battle. More of an emotional battle ground. One that feels as though it takes place on an ocean of unpredictable and fierce currents.

 I am still in the battle, but I am swimming towards shore. 
What a battle like this does, is flush out the friends from the frenemies. Those who want to control me and those who want to help me.  

To those who listened, questioned, despite having their doubts and although they had strong opinions opposite to mine...I thank you. You were a friend when I needed one.

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Building an Empire One Step at a Time

Pip and I are back at speech classes. Pip aced her class...she pronounces everything so well the teachers are at a loss at what we should work on. Pip talking so much at Preschool all year and singing Karaoke at home has improved her speech so very impressively.

Met Miranda at Brandt Creeks Pub before supper. It was so relaxing there. I can totally understand pub culture. If I didn't have to drive I could have stayed there all evening one drink after another...but alas, a wine spritzer is all this light weight can handle.

Mist and Tabs and Pip all had playdates in the afternoon.

I am getting very busy "building my empire" as I like to call it. Everything I have always wanted to do...I am doing it now. My Pip will start kindergarden next fall, I will graduate with an MA...I am so ready... Getting involved in Greenpeace as this has always been a goal of mine...want to start up an Okanagan chapter--I've always known that my naturalist/adventure-junkie self needs an outlet like Greenpeace--I'd like to work for them within their communications dept. Start Latin dance on Friday. I will be finished my thesis by mid march and then I will find a job teaching or in communications or perhaps both. Painting workshop in France to follow.

Tabs is writing a report on the Chinese in Canada during the gold rush and railway building. It is very heart breaking to read her report. I knew about all of the racism, but I didn't know that the Chinese have an official day (since 1923) that they celebrate called "Humiliation Day." They celebrate it on July 1st--Canada Day--they didn't want to celebrate a country that treated them so badly :( 
I don't think too many still celebrate such a day... judging from the number of Happy Chinese Canadians in BC (everyone we met in Hong Kong has a relative living in Vancouver), I think things have improved drastically.

Touch me not for I am free. Wild to hold though I seem tame.
-my personal mantra that I created as a teenager and still live by.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Dancing Hippy Chicks

These pics are some of my favourites...summer, nature, dancing, children and dogs...the best.

Peter and I have crashed. We have been living seperate lives for a decade and finally it all caught up with us. Good things can come from a crash. We both woke up.So all I can say is we are trying to evolve as individuals and will try and see if we can do this and be married at the same time.

I send a thank-you to my dad. Sometimes, quite surprisingly, we get each other.

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