catalyst (2)

I went exploring on the weekend and found a steep descent to ‘the original downtown’ as New West likes to claim. I did see several homes built as early as the 1890’s on my way down 🙂

There is a new zero waste shop open and I was intrigued to learn they sell laundry strips and also vinyl records and various other random wholesome treasures.

I was well entertained and provisioned at the Thrift Store — it’s just nice to have time and space to wander and discover fun things and maybe a few ‘new to you’ things. Plus, air-conditioning. My apartment is ‘toasty’ and I won’t deny there’ve been some rough moments where I wasn’t sure if I was going to burst into flame, or tears. Laundry dries super fast though. All caught up, there.

I have to keep reminding myself to take a minute and BREATHE.

I got a sunburn. And I’ve enjoyed a fizzy drink on my balcony with pretzels. Reading ‘Return of the King’. Binge watched ‘Anne’, and successfully made a scrumptious amount of homemade hummus.

The library is now open again! And the movie theatre is still promoting, with tickets only $5.00. I went to see ‘1918’, and ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, which was fun 🙂

Work is busy. When I get bored here, I’ll be sure to let you know. I have a new cork-board for my office, which is a bonus and helps keep some space available on my desk.

Garden is good. Radio is a good: you can tune it in, or tune it out, go for the mundane, the routine or the intrigue. Found a sunny spot at the window to read and watch the world go by. I like finding practical processes that work well in real-life. Win-win. On to the next round of reinvention.

Thanks for stopping by,

–Sam

thumbs up

  • Blueberries
  • Peppers
  • Wraps and salads
  • Who’s on First
  • Human qualities that help tackle loneliness
  • Years in the making: if this life was a screen play and all the key players with the Couch Spring Fiddlers*. Bubble, nutshell, rollercoaster, plus me.
  • Tasks completed: food, work, sunshine, communications, journal
  • Marathon clock: time, day, date, temperature!
  • Making educated guesses for supplies and phone numbers
  • Teamwork! Gratitude to those who step up and help me keep my ducks in a halfway-decent row 🙂

histories + travel stories

I realize how I and other humans like to categorize things, remove ambiguities, put things tidily away in boxes. But life is so much more than that, it is so fluid and interconnected and layered that simplification seems an injustice to all the people and places and histories and experiences that occur and are occurring. History is being created by the moments of the present. You will look back on this moment and judge it later, differently perhaps than how you judge it now.

Can we just ‘be’ and live the events as they unfold? Keep the memories alive? Learn and adapt and challenge as we move through time and space? Why does one narrative have to be all we know? There is more than one road, more than one traveller.

The air is close today and the hum of activity is pulsing through it instead of my blood, which is a nice change. I spend an inordinate amount of time talking things through with myself, as the bubble which was small and resilient to begin with some decades ago has had to adjust to these new realities of 2020 during pandemic times and mass protests, economic shifts, social injustice, environmental collapse. My goals: stay home, stay healthy, keep the faith in peanut butter! participate in discussion and take what action you can.

Honestly, self-reliance has never seemed so necessary. I don’t have the energy to create a movement, I can’t wait around for others to take action or invite me in. So I work to be as present here as I can.

Early in the year, when we had a dump of snow and the city stumbled, the sidewalks were in chaos and everything I wanted to accomplish took twice as long and double the energy, a stranger offered me a ride the last few blocks to work.

“You should be knocking on doors!” she told me, meaning, I assume, that I should take time out of my day to ask people to clear their sidewalks of snow. It’s hard enough for me to get my boots on and off and my groceries packed to and from my own front door, without traipsing all over the neighbourhood asking people to contribute to the common good of usable wintertime walkways.

It gets ridiculously hard to do stuff if the underlying system is broken. And right now, many systems are broken and multitudes of people are struggling.

I’m getting fatigued. You ask for help and few step up. You advocate change and so much stays the same. I’m developing a stronger preference for staying home, scrambling tofu and DIY because otherwise the cost is just too high.

I took myself out to the movies, and to Tim’s for a snack. I’ve watered my garden and caught up on my correspondence. I bought a mask that works well and sanitizer that kills just the germs and not also my desire to ever draw another breath. I’m pursuing my own leadership roles in life and work and have coped well so far, now that ‘bubbles’ like mine are the status quo. “We must not be hasty” –I’m reading The Two Towers finding wisdom and laughter in some of Treebeard’s teachings.

Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

Treebeard, The Two Towers

When I was last home on the Coast, my mom and I spent several days watching home movies on our old video camera, going through old tapes of birthdays and camping trips, creative projects and candid moments, milestones and memories.

When I returned, other highlights of past events kept surfacing on the radio, in conversation with friends and the books and movies, music and art, and other life I’ve been digesting.

The outcome is this post.

Thanks for stopping by.

–Sam

swiss cheese

the disclosure podcast — ep 20: can vegans have pets? the pet industry explained.

workflow

isolation

current events

pain, anger, sadness, grief, loss

all occurring over peanut butter sandwiches

— under florescent stabs, over-lit, under-lit, soft light, no light, deep-breath.

sweeping generalizations do no good to humanity

you can’t push the river, she said

and the tears fell faster

i choose to disclose my hopes and struggles, thoughts and actions to do work that matters

further discussion, absolutely

Catalyst (1)

New collection of my thoughts, adventures and oddities.

Yesterday:

I have no wifi on this side of the library. But I can’t bring myself to pay the demands required to have a home wifi connection for 1 hour of connective content in a day.

Reading a curious composition right now, Good News for a Change, authors David Suzuki and Holly Dressel. It gives me some hope that we aren’t totally doomed to be hamsters running on wheels, or lemmings diving over cliffs… I’ve learned that the small farms produce the highest yields, that the methods used by indigenous peoples for millennia  and similar traditional, local, informed stewardship efforts have ample evidence to support their continued implementation. Being architects of our own destruction isn’t as inevitable as I thought. And sustainable practices are possible and do currently exist.

And yet, I must admit, there are so many pieces to consider it still makes my head hurt to think about it large scale.

I’m planning on perogies or stirfry for dinner.

I watched most of the Station 19 finale. Ten minutes left and it tells me my machine can’t process this content.

Im home now with my noise cancelling headphones on, listening to silence for dear life. I’ve decided in reality that there is no true impetus for me to leave my house — other than to jump in and jump out of the Kozak eatery for fresh bread and babka (still would like to try the chocolate sourdough). 

And work. Because, despite the struggles, I feel like it is a battle worth fighting.

I really miss listening to Anna Maria Tremonti host The Current on CBC. I was speechless last year when I heard she would be leaving. For more than half my life, I have heard this voice on the radio, and now I’m a little lost, haha. The radio is still a good friend of mine, however.

Good things (11)

Say What?!

Like a herd of turtles: This one always makes me laugh. I’ve discovered the details I find and the words I use are not too much like those found and used by others –the public, friends, coworkers, family. Case studies provided for your entertainment and mine.

Mom: Did you say ‘some crappiness is nice’ ?
Me: No, I said some classiness is nice 😀

Rube: You guys are all over the fence.
Me: (ROFL) Do you mean all over the map, or on the fence?

Me: Did you make it through the first week of school?
Rube: Barely… By the hem of my pants…?
Me: Seat of my pants or skin of my teeth, pick one.
Rube: Nobody says that!
Me: They do!
Rube: You don’t have skin on your teeth!
Me: Exactly.

A sign of the times: Here we are now conditioned so far to expect a clamour of cuttlery and noises of celebration in recognition of frontline and essential workers during the pandemic, each day at 7pm…

The next day at breakfast:

(distant clanging, ringing)

Rube pauses in confusion, tofu still suspended on her fork. “Seven o’clock,” I say. She is shocked. I try not to laugh. I fail.

“It’s the Cowbarn Bells track from Oliver Shroer’s Camino album”, I say. She harrumphs and goes back to her tofu.

bread+butter v 2.0

I’ve been muddled lately, trying to do too many things. Trying to be an extrovert, when I’m really not. And the cracks are showing now. Here’s the dets:

Work is complex and right now, messy. And I’m doing my best to keep on top of it all. I’m looking forward to having stuff on the record, transparent and accessible ASAP, as it’s been a bumpy ride of choose your own adventure lately. What works for a small team for the short term, isn’t always the same that works for a large team over the long term.

My plants are doing ok. Cello is good. Home library is 10/10. New recipe for vegan dessert is top notch, and same for the tofu. I’d like to do some more gardening, and have a free day to tidy my home-base. And I’d like to be invisible for several days. To play by my rules instead of everyone else’s 🙂

It’s like a giant constant game of connect the dots, and I’ve got to choose how many I want to puzzle out every day. Sometimes my head hurts.

However, it’s now raining; the heat of the day has dissipated in more ways than one, for which I have so much gratitude. And sitting outside the library this evening, I’ve learned of the local drug scene, and also just got a wonderful greeting from a passerby who wished me well and presented me with a flower! I will keep that moment close to my heart as a beautiful surprise (the flower, the good will and the rain, not the drugs… 🙂 ).

I’m off home to my hobbit hole. Stay dry. Stay safe. Be good to each other.

–Sam

sunday

I made it to the mall. Sitting outside my workplace to connect to the wifi; I tried to scope out a working power outlet so I don’t have to run on battery, but that didn’t work out. I have the outlet, but the power seems not to be on. Smart of them, to save power – bad luck for me. Limits the screen time though, which I’m still convinced is a good thing.

The mall doesn’t have a lot going for it. Especially now with so few humans shopping, and so few shops open. But it does have a massive skylight, stays at a tolerable, if not ideal temperature, and is dry -if you don’t count the time last year when a hole opened above our reception area with water and debris raining down for 2 days in a row. Not having to hoist lazy or struggling persons up and down all day also means that the elevators and escalators are in surprisingly good condition these days. I can ride solo and don’t have to wait minute after excruciating minute to get to my destination on the second floor.

It’s wonderfully quiet here now. There are no screaming children or rattling mobility aids, and far less of the uncomfortable sights, sounds and persons that move toward public spaces when there’s nowhere else to go. Stuff we want to un-see or wish we didn’t have to, mixed in with life’s general hubbub.

I can’t go in to the library, because it’s closed until further notice. But sitting outside of it is no longer much of an opportunity either, with what seems a constant stream of the unhappy, unhealthy, and disturbed. And the vehicle traffic is loud and people yell regardless of if they are talking to themselves, someone only steps away, or on a device the volume is the same as if they were the town criers of old. It’s not really a comfortable or communal place.

I wouldn’t think wanting to have some calm, and a bit of joy in the world would be so hard to find, but it really is starting to feel like a zombie movie. It would be nice to see a sane smile and some sunlight every once in a while. And to have a place to sit, a few minutes of wifi and community. Instead, everyone is dead-eyed, isolated and pacing, or else tucked into a corner on the floor. All the benches and chairs are gone, people’s thoughts and intentions hidden under masks.

So I’m here on the floor, in the relative peace of the mostly deserted indoors. With wifi.

I’d like to point out that I’m at the office, sitting just outside the entrance but not IN the office. I have no intention of working weekends, and I’m not about make a beeline toward anything resembling florescent lighting, persons in crisis, or paperwork until Monday. That’s as good as my work-life balance/coordination gets at the moment.

timed_troubles

Recently, someone on the radio, a nurse or doctor working in the hospital on the front lines during COVID-19 said that, “A day feels like a week, and a week feels like a year.” That is accurate.

I have actually seen the number of case-files for our team more than double overnight. In other news, I have successfully revived a severely depressed office plant.

I’m reading and journalling, walking and working. I’m kept busy perusing my home libraries of music and movies. I alternate between that, and the radio shows, and if stuff starts feeling repetitive, I just move from English to another language. Probably French is the one I can comprehend best, but it’s always entertaining to hear Harry Potter speak Spanish, or the weather forecast announced in Punjabi!

I’d like to indulge once humanity is on the other side of this, by having a good dinner with my family, and watching a decent movie or show with popcorn. To just be present and under no pressure, even for just a few hours. And hugs. Lots of hugs.

-Sam