Well. . . Poop

Every day (almost) I tell myself it is time to write another blog, then repeat the thought the following day, and the following day and . . . .today I looked at the last post and almost pooped myself! The last post was in October.

What the hell happened to my weekly blogging?

Life -That’s what happened.

Self-doubt – That’s what happened.

Procrastination – Oh, yeah baby, that puppy really howled!

Same thing with my writing in general – My story characters are still bobbing in and out of the gray matter in my head but the nasty habit of over-thinking snags onto them like a  hungry creature slithering from its muckhole.

I recently turned 65. Thinking about it made me want to run screaming into the dark – like how the heck did I get that old that fast?? I am so not ready. Life is moving fast and I feel like I’m no longer in cinque with it.  That feeling of being a step behind it all had me stewing in the murk-muck I call my brain until I hit on what I think is causing the problem.

Wrinkles.

Oh, but not those wanton bags of joy which slip in and shift our skin from its trampoline-like tightness to the hammock-in-a-breeze sway. I believe the wrinkles causing the worst issues are those crepe-like little buggers draping themselves over our eyeballs. That extra pinch of droop adding drag to our blinks and changing everything.

I mean, think about it – much of what happens in life happens in the blink of an eye and here we oldsters are too busy slow-blinking to see how life is changing, heck, how we are changing, until we are slapped upside the head with them.

Like suddenly turning 65. . .

However, I did realize one good thing in all that wrinkly thinking. – those eye wrinkles are most likely the cause of one distortion I am grateful for – dear Man-Wonder still thinks I’m . . .  well, you know . . and I thank the powers that be for that myopic miscalculation.

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Little pleasures

 

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What’s been happening lately? Not much. Mostly working, at a job where there is way too much waiting around; before, during and after; which sucks up and spits out way too much of the time left for those little pleasures we derive from our non-working life.  During the most recent job-waiting periods a co-worker and I were throwing around ways to improve our pleasure times  (aka avoiding housework where ever possible). A few of our more repeatable ideas are:

  • When the venetian blinds have a dusty coat over them angle the blades upward so the sunlight doesn’t shine across them showing off your lack of loving care.
  • When the sink is partially full of dishes, cover with hot water, using the spray nozzle and dish soap to create a fairy-land sink of soap. Looks pretty and gives you about 40 minutes of clear conscience – most useful if you are nearing the end of a juicy book. (Timing depends on the power of the spray and the brand of dish soap.)
  • When the blades of the ceiling fan have black dusty edges either convince yourself it is a black and white fan or keep it running at a high enough speed to blur.
  • When the meal prep crumbs are spreading themselves across the kitchen floor push them into a neat pile (use your toes), ready for when you grab the broom and dustpan from their hidey-hole ( Naturally it may take a few passes before you remember to grab the above mentioned tools) Another benefit of this pile is, if someone comes in, it looks like you are in the middle of sweeping it up – which makes you look like a clean and caring person).
  • We didn’t come up with much for dirty laundry other than hide it in the machine. Neither of us had enough clothing to need one. (Though the washer for dirty laundry is as good as an oven for dirty dishes in my books.)

I guess what it boils down to is that life is too short to worry about small amounts of dirt. I believe that if your house-cleaning (or lack of) isn’t making you sick – then life is good. Spent the time reading, visiting, dancing naked under the moon – whatever turns your crank and makes you happy.

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Love thy neighbour (and her bird) to pieces

turkey twos

I have the most wonderful, inventive neighbour ever. She is the busiest human I’ve ever met. Her mind is locked in fast forward while mine stalls regularly. She is like the energizer bunny in human form so let’s call her EB here.

The thing about EB, is when she comes up with an idea – BOOM – it is in motion.Show her a problem and more likely than not she’ll come up with a solution. Sometimes, even though they work out, her solutions have a few strange twists to them. And sometimes she is prone to overthinking solutions and coming up with new ones.

This year is a prime example of out-of-the-box thinking (and re-thinking) on her part. She was faced with an overcrowded freezer thanks to a Christmas turkey bought in July, an excellent year for blackberries, and suddenly an over-productive veggie garden. To make room in her freezer she decided the bird had to be eaten now which meant thawing for days in the fridge. Which also meant time for her to decide the bird was too big for just the two of them. . . so then she needed to come up with a solution to that problem.

“I’m going to cut it in half.” she tells me. ” I’ll do it before . . . (Mr.EB) comes back from golfing.”

“You need my help?” I asked, picturing her hovering over the frozen bird, butcher knife in hand, hacking, hacking, hacking. I was also thinking it was a good thing the bird was already dead.

“No. No. I have an idea. I’ll yell if I run into trouble” So, being a good neighbour, I plunk myself at my desk by our bedroom window, just in case. Fantastic decision because it gave me a hidden front row seat to her ‘solution.’

I’m barely in my chair before dear EB has a white tarp spread in the narrow space between the back of her mobile and her garden ( also directly in line with my window) where she proceeds to scrub the hell out of her small electric hedge trimmer. Once it is  clean enough she disappears from sight for a moment then returns with her big frozen bird. Whipping on a pair of goggles and an apron she cuts into that turkey with her trimmer, sending bits of turkey matter flying in every direction. Suddenly the back wall of her mobile looks like a rock climbing wall for fairies while the first three rows of her garden took direct hits of turkey tidbits. We won’t even mention the state of her goggles by the time she finished!  EB spent six times as long cleaning up as she did carving.

We haven’t had a chance to chat since her turkey trimming. and there is one thing I am dying to know . . . did her husband notice that half the bird was missing. . . ?

 

 

 

Checkerboard creativity or idiot-ivity?

I’ve had too much time off this summer and too many hot days which led to too much thinking and pondering. My creative urges were starting to feel like someone was rubbing a stem of stinging nettle across my brain.

Hallelujah, last week the weather cooled and my energy returned and off to the carport I went dragging one tired wheeled cart inherited many many moons ago. At one time there was an electrical outlet attached to its top shelf and I remember there was always a kettle, toaster and teapot close by. Cups and saucers on the middle shelf and who knows what on the bottom. (At least while my aunt was alive. After she died Unk turned it into a moveable drink caddy, but then that’s another story in itself.)  It was now time for this baby’s rebirth. I was imagining crisp clean  glossy white.

Too bad it ended up looking like some hospital cast-off.

Then creativity whispered in my ear . . . black AND white.  I stared at it (the table, not my creativity) until I saw it – a checkerboard pattern on the shelves, two white legs with black dots, two black legs with white dots. The sudden rise in energy must have attracted Man-wonder because he wandered into the car port, saw the table and said, “I like it but you don’t do you?” (He does like to ask pointless questions I’ve noticed). I laid out the new plan.

“Uh uh. Don’t do it. Don’t you remember what you said last time you attempted painting a checkerboard pattern? You told me to tell you never to try it again”

Now, there are two things I know for sure. One – I have a piss-poor memory and two – that man’s middle name is pain-in-butt.

“Did you get it in writing? Did I make you swear to stop me?”

“No and no. But you did toss around some pretty nasty words.”

After a short silent staring session I said, (words dripping with disdainful dignity), “Phffffff! Don’t remember and, anyway, I’ve had lots of painting experience since whenever that was.”

Next morning, after he left for work, I spent time researching methods online just to be sure I knew what I was doing. Preparation is half the work and can cover up a few fibs, right? Four hours later I had two shelves done and I was looking at the third with no passion whatsoever. Sadly, I knew the following day would be spent touching up almost every freaking square and the day after that – touching up my touching ups. Besides, the dotty legs were looking a bit disease-y.

When Man-wonder came home, and yes, he had to walk past my painting efforts, he was wise enough to not say “I told you so.” And I was disheartened enough to let him hug me while he promised to tie my hands behind my back the next time I discovered a checkerboard pattern I simply had to do. And then the man with the memory said, still mid-hug, “Hey, remember that old desk we had in the basement on Furn Rd? Remember the fun you had painting it? You threw a bunch of different colors at it and it turned out pretty cool didn’t it? And I still remember that huge couch you had when we first met. It was covered in a splatter paint fabric right? You loved that couch.”

“OMG! I’d forgotten. Splatter-painting! My couch!” I gave him a big squeeze. “And they wonder why I call you Man-wonder.” Then I smacked him. “Why didn’t you remember all that before?”

Well, I splatter-painted the heck out of that table and I may never put anything on it ever again. . . I love it! Something satisfying about a controlled mess . . . table for blog

 

. But . . . here’s the thing – our sun porch floor needs  a new paint job and I am sorry to say I saw one done in a soft grey and white checkerboard pattern that set my soul singing and I think I could do it, for two reasons

  • First – let’s not call it checkerboard, let’s call them painted tiles.
  • And, since the sun porch isn’t big and the tiles would be . . . I could easily do it in one Man-wonder working day.

I know. I KNOW . . . a bit like the monkey never learns on my part right?

Road trip – from beads to teas

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Last Friday Man-wonder looked up from his half-finished crossword and asked, ” Feel like a mini road trip down island? I want to check out of that Duncan bead shop you told me about in Spring.” ( Dear hubby may be sloth-like getting around to things but he does have an elephant-ish mind!) Now, the thing I like about his hunt for beads (for fly tying) is that I most often end up finding treasures. And this road trip was no exception.

The bead shop was a disappointment for him:

  • Man-wonder – one pack of beads
  • Cathie – one cute little treasure chest the perfect size to hold 4 bottles of essential oils

Before leaving Duncan we made one more stop at a shop he knew carried his preferred beads.

  • Man-wonder – zilch
  • Cathie – two jigsaw puzzles and the latest copy of Magnolia Journal to read.

Still, not giving up, he suggested  we made a quick stop in Chemainus on the way home. Chemainus is a wee town with a big bead shop. He almost always finds something there. We agreed and, since it was a road trip of sorts, we decided to take the back roads homeward rather than the highway. I love back roads because they are almost as good as back alleys for finding the unexpected and wonderful.

And, wouldn’t you know it – we found both when we discovered the island’s only tea farm – Westholme Tea Company.  How cool is that? The farm has somewhere between 400 and 600 plants growing in curving rows along a south-facing slope as one drives downhill to the tea shop. Not a big shop but they sell about a half zillion different blends of tea and a least a gazillion  items used in the fine art of tea-brewing. Plus they have a tiny gallery filled with hand formed pottery. The teapots alone wouldn’t look out-of-place at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland. Priceless.

  • Man-wonder – zilch
  • Cathie – well, let’s just say I had way tooo much of a good time in that shop!

Finally we made it to Chemainus where it was another strike-out for Man-wonder’s bead stash. . . but I discovered a magnificent ice cream shop out behind the bead store . . . so we both won.

And get this – dear sweet ever-hopeful Man-wonder is already planning his next bead hunting trip – this time to Victoria.

I can hardly wait!

 

 

Changing

Okay, it’s been so long since I added a blog I am seriously considering changing the blog name to “Caymayo doesn’t write much anymore”.

No excuses. I just drifted away for a while. Not writing at all. Barely sketching. Mostly working on folk art style applique mixed embroidery. In other words hand stitching. . . under a fan, waiting for the heat to pass (that’s summer heat not police heat).

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About three weeks ago  my ordered copy of Steven Reddy’s book arrived.
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He is an artist with a style I adore and it has sent me out on a few early morning sketches since devouring it.

Then I read “Slow” by Brooke McAlary

which helped further pull me out of my inertia (again, early morning before the heat plows back in).

 

 

 

 

I have been taking pictures and, praise the powers that be, finally figured out how to have the pictures taken on my phone instantly (or relatively fast) transferred to both my notebook and the bigger laptop. (double fist pump and a mighty Yesssssss here!)

(Setting sun at home and sunrise at the park)

Yesterday I picked up a mystery book for mid-grade children, written by a local writer and was so disgusted by the poor writing I am now going to write again just to prove I can do better.

Nothing like a little negative influence at times eh?

Then this morning I read Marlene’s post “lost and found’ over at https://insearchofitall.wordpress.com/   and felt the urge to restart writing about the bits and baubles that make up my life – so thanks Marlene!

Nothing like a little positive influence at times eh

There once was a Luddite who texted. . .

My dear man of wonder is such a borderline Luddite that sometimes I am forced to play with it.

A while back I purchased a new phone, capable of everything but swinging on the monkey bars at recess and, since the old flip phone was still in excellent condition, I convinced Man-Wonder to take it over. After some intense cajoling he agreed, and I’m proud to say he’s up to texting six-letter words now. Mind you, he won’t use the camera, he won’t change tunes for the texts or phone messages and he definitely won’t change the picture on the home screen. He insists, “Everything is fine as is, why mess with it?”

The one thing he will do is erase messages. No multi deletes though. Nope, it is once a month . . and one. at. a. time. – a long drawn out painful procedure, peppered with curses and many mumbles about ‘someone having far too much to say’.

Since I’m the reason for his mumbles, and just before I left for the most recent ‘away’ jobs, I decided to really give him something to mumble about. I secretly set his phone up so each time he received a text my voice would loudly announce, “You got a message! You got a message!”

Then I went away for three days. Texting him as often as I could.

Day one and he was texting back as normal. Disappointing. When day two ended without any comments from him I figured I’d either messed up and wasn’t annoying the hell out of him or he’d been so horrified he’d figured out how to change it. Then came day three. Five thirty in the morning to be exact. I had just texted him a cheery good morning. My phone rang within two minutes.

“You know I love you, right? But I can’t handle your voice yelling at me all the time. How do I shut you up?”

Once I quit snickering I explained how to ‘erase’ me. We hung up and I went to work. Late that afternoon, on the drive back down island I sent him a text letting him know. I got a brief ‘Okay’ reply.  A bit later I sent another text with our eta and my drop-off spot. Within seconds my phone rang.

“Stop texting me!” Man-Wonder yelled in my ear. “I screwed up and somehow made you really, really loud and now you’re screaming at me when you text! And now the damn thing is vibrating too. JUST.STOP. TEXTING. PLEASE.”

I laughed all the way home and, yes, I had to text him a couple more times. . . after all – he could have turned his phone off. . .

North, through the mountains, to the sea.

Four hours north of home, the snow crusted mountain tops are at eye level as we three co-workers drive by, our goal is a motor inn in the town of Port McNeil. The sun is brilliant and we think we can see a gold tinge to it. Maybe just our hope that spring is springing. Maybe not.

We will meet up with two other vans full of co-workers, but for now we are about three hours ahead of them.  We separate to our rooms and for me, a walk is a necessity since I’ve just spent three miserable days full of some unknown virus and four hours in a heated vehicle.

I need fresh air!

Port McNeil is tiny. Most homes can either see the ocean or at least hear/smell it. My walk takes me down to the docks, then along past a wee ferry that travels across a narrow inlet to Commorant Island and the village of Alert Bay.

The wash from the ferry’s departure creates small waves that rush themselves toward the rocky shoreline where they crash with a foamy frenzy.

How I’ve missed that sound. it feels like I’ve been wallowing in winter gloom for months and months. I’ve not visited the shore for so long and now, here, it fills me with a sense of lagom – a swedish word to describe ‘just right, just enough’. And, God, even if I am four hours away from home, I am again at home.

Speaking of God, or with God, if you prefer – during the drive through the mountains I found myself thanking the one who created it all, who created this world that is a wonder of such natural (to quote Koosje Koene) ‘awesome art’ and at the same time apologising for our messy finger-painting splashed across so much of it.

We humans must get out of our kindergarten brain when it comes to care of the world that grows us.

Ciao for now

 

A perfect moment . . . or sixty.

It’s been raining almost non-stop for days now. Sunshine busts out every third or fourth day, giving us hope along with a peanut-sized dose of vitamin D. Then it’s gone. A forever time filled with pounding, driving, soppy, drizzly rain; making our brains soggy from the dreary of it.

But that kind of dreary does have its moments, because in our damp daze we will grab onto any distantly-related-to-perfect moment like a life-presever and squeeze it tight, wringing as much joy from it as we can.

Like, this morning — I woke in the predawn, craving a Santa Fa wrap, only the restuarant that serves it wasn’t going to be open for hours yet. After checking the fridge I figured I could create something close in nature. First —  four strips of bacon (two for me and two for Man-Wonder; which makes that his perfect moment when he finally arises). Two eggs omelet style topped with leftover carmelized onions, crumbled bacon, shredded smoked gouda and soft mozza. Fold it all up in a wrap and lightly tap with butter and baked for twenty minutes or so, turning once. Out pops a crispy breakfast wrap, add a dab of salsa and sour cream and heaven lays itself out on your plate crying for the chomping to commence! Add to this one cup of freshly dripped coffee, a small bowl of frozen blueberries and mango pieces, along with the tiniest square of Nanaimo Bar smack in the middle.

You will be excused for thinking that to be a perfect moment. It’s close but you see, I know I have at least one hour before the man-bear crawls from his slumber, sniffing, snorting, scratching and looking for sustenance. I have one hour to round out that meal to perfection. . . so . . .

I turn off all the lights except the two strands of Christmas lights we refuse to take down until winter leaves; I turn the cd player on and soft flute music pushes the rain patter from my brain as I slip into Man-Wonder’s recliner, pull the lever and commence to wiggle and twist until all the lumps are in exactly the right place (his chair’s lumps; not mine. . .).  My body begins to disappear, the aches and pains fading away as I slide into weightless state. All ‘to-do’ lists are emptying from my mind as I drift into that delicious place, the space between here and nowhere.

That, my friends, is truly one of those imperfectly-perfect moments.

Oh Yeah . . .

 

Those moments that open our eyes

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
― Mark Twain

We’ve lost another two men from our community in the past few days. One lived a quiet desperate life for years after his wife passed away. He turned to alcohol to ease his loneliness, allowing his life to fade into non-existence, until his heart finally died too.

The other fellow was always busy, always putzing about, improving things for him and his  wife until cancer developed. It spread rapidly, despite painful chemo treatments,  killing him far too quickly

After seeing the raw anguish on his widow’s face I went home, and as I gazed at Man-Wonder snoozing in his recliner, I was filled with a big gratefulness, for as much as I poke fun at him, I treasure the man for who he is — a slow, kind and gentle soul.

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” — Mitch Alboman 

I was also feeling more than a smidgen of fear that I would be the one left behind so I woke him up to inform him that I was planning on departing this mortal plane first.

Of course he argued.  In fact we’re still arguing about it.  . .

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.”  Lemony Snicket.

Ciao for now

 

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