Thursday, January 29, 2009


Medical specialists are not always within a twenty kilometre driving distance, I've learned here in the Central Interior.

The one I was to see practiced in Kamloops, a three-hour trip to the South.  We left early on Sunday morning, intending to spend the night in a Motel for my appointment on Monday.

Again, I practiced taking photos out of the car window. Sunday morning was particularly cold...the temperatures were hovering near the -30C mark, when we left home. Quite often, steam from the exhausts of trucks and cars made visibility difficult, especially with blowing Snow as well.

I have learned, however, to take the weather in stride.

I don't like seeing doctors, let alone specialists.  I can't express myself, especially in the three second time span most specialists give one to answer a question.  

I prepared myself this time, having written out a list of medications and symptoms...precisely so I could discuss these with the Doctor. 

But she wasn't interested in what I had written...she wanted me to answer her questions.  Off the top.

Oh, oh.

The questioning began. I had only moments to reply. After three or four of those, had she asked me my name, I would have had difficulty answering correctly.

And then, there were the exercises, which were demonstrated with great speed by the Doctor. I was to follow along.  It was laughable.  She went so quickly I was still on the second one when she was finished. And I couldn't remember the rest of the movements.

Suffice it to say, after all was said and done, I came out of the appointment, with a sheaf of tests which required doing. And I hope those tests pinpoint the problem I was in for, since I know a diagnosis could not be made on the strength of any conversation I had with her.

Each appointment with this Doctor runs 45 more,no less.  You would think, during this time span, I would be able to demonstrate or enunciate my difficulties with Arthritis.

But no.

My brain freezes up, when I try to explain.  There is nothing there...there are no words which will come out of my mouth. The worst moments are when I go blank and then start to giggle, which sometimes...morphs into deep guffaws! Oh dear!

Some Doctors have become offended, thinking my laughter was directed at them.  It never is; it is only my reaction to being blank-brained.

My favourite kind of medical specialist is the one who, on my arrival, will have the receptionist give me a list of questions to complete. This gives me time to remember my history, check my notes, and sometimes think deeply about some of the answers.

I will be fifty-eight soon, in February.  There is a lifetime of maladies to report, not all of them within easy reach of my middle-aged memory.

So here I am, today, answering all of her questions, in my head.  I am completely understandable, very verbal, with no signs of the nervousness which overtakes my head.

I remember some of the answers I gave, some which were not completely right, when I spoke to the Doctor. And I wish I could answer those questions again, with more lucidity. But it is what it is.

And no amount of self-abuse will change it.

The weekend away was wonderful, even with evil appointments with specialists...well worth it. My perspective changes a little,for the better, when I visit a City I am not familiar with. Struggling with addresses and places unknown humbles me; but finally finding a place is cause for celebration, each time.

And going away...well, it makes coming home that much better!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Destiny and Dreams

I am beginning to feel like a character living in a distant, Wintry Forest, those which are depicted so well in the Grimm's Brother's fairy tales.

Or perhaps, the countryside in Russia shown in Dr. Zhivago is also descriptive of where I live. Parts of it were filmed in Canada, after all.

Do you remember the scene where Zhivago says goodbye to Lara?  Those fields through which the horse drawn wagon takes Lara...away from Dr. Zhivago...those fields are very reminiscent of the vast, snow blanketed land in the Cariboo.

I wept rivers...torrents of tears...during that scene.

As a very impressionable fourteen year old when Dr. Zhivago aired; as a child who read Grimm's tales, inhaling descriptions of the sometimes terrifying  landscape in each story...I pledged then, so many years ago, to live in a similar area.

I pledged, in my romantic adolescent mind, to one day live in a harsh climate, believing, in a very imaginative way, that this was the one of the ways I could face the demons of life.

I had forgotten my youthful pledge, but the Universe sent a message this morning.  Lara's Theme was running through my head, even before I opened my eyes.

This morning, the temperature read -24C. With a North West Wind, it was not long before the inside of my nose became rimmed with frost... Cold is cold, as Goatman's brother says, but I'm here to tell you whatever one thinks is can get much colder.

But with the words from Lara's theme by Paul Francis Webster..." Somewhere, my love, there will be songs to sing, although the Snow covers the hopes of Spring. Somewhere, a hill blossoms in green and gold, and there are dreams, all that your heart can hold..." racing through my mind, during the morning chores, I remembered my long ago pledge.

With a cup of coffee steaming in my hand, I looked out at the awesome, silent Snow-covered landscape. And I remembered the dreams I had, so many, of living in a place just like here, right where I am.  How amazing.

I already understand, deep in my gut, I am here, in the Cariboo, to lay my inner demons to rest.  There have been numerous messages telling me so; I have largely ignored them. I fill my time, instead, with renos and landscaping, needleworking (an old hobby, becoming new again), and any other thing I can find to hide from what my soul is trying to bring to the forefront.

There are no signs of Spring here; there are no hills blossoming in greens and golds as yet, but this doesn't mean they are not there. The longer I live here, the more I understand about trusting something I cannot, as yet, visualize. The seeds of healing myself are only beginning to germinate.

When the time is right, they will burst into bloom...

In the meantime, I am living where, from earliest memories, I have visualized myself to be. It is proof to me how powerful visualizations are...especially if they have been held close for a lifetime.

Quite suddenly, I find myself in the place of my dreams.  And just because the reality is somewhat different from adolescent imaginings, just because the cold is harsh and Winter is long, does not mean Spring will not arrive.

It does not mean hope is lost.

The Universe doesn't make mistakes. I am here to find some thing of which I am not aware, perhaps.

Patience...ahhh, that old Lady the key.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Creator's Wagon

Years and years ago, when my children were small, I filled out a census form.  In it, one of the questions was about my religion of choice.  I said I practiced Spirituality.

The lady who picked up my form glanced through it to make sure it was filled out correctly.  She noticed my preferred practice during the course of my life...and she told me it was not a religion. She told me I was required to choose one of the religions listed.

I refused; I had been baptized Lutheran, but my baptism was the last time I visited this could I call myself Lutheran? And I was not agnostic, and I was not an atheist, and I was not just "other"...I wanted to explain what "other" meant to me.

But I was young, and she was older and in a position of authority, to my inexperienced eye. And she said...The religion you are baptized in, is what you are.

I swallowed and said...OK.

Years later, with miles of experience and hard fought-for snippets of Wisdom under my belt, if I was in a similar position today...I would not have changed my stance, in the face of authority.

I practice Spirituality. There is no argument. It just is.

I have studied various forms of Spiritualism ( the definition here being the supernatural or the supramundane...Merriam-Webster) including Tarot, Mediumship, Wicca, Reiki, Healing Touch, Shamanism...only stroking the surface of each.

But I have learned a few things along the way...I have taken out of each pathway a little knowledge, something relevant to my life. My way of being.

When I say I practice Spirituality, the key word being practice, I listen to my Soul, my intuition. My guiding force...and sometimes forces. I practice being aware of the messages received from the Universe, I practice gratitude each day for where I currently am, in this life. 

I practice receiving Love; giving it away, thereby opening to others, often strangers, just to see the smile appear in an otherwise dour personage.

I practice being aware of my mind, which can lead me to unwanted jungles...I practice turning negative barbs into opposite, positive ones. I practice being in the moment...the right now, catching myself as I stray to the unknown future with its hazy, worrisome outlook.

And I practice...each day...turning over my problems or worries to Creator, Spirit, the Universe, Mother Earth, God or Goddess. I find it so easy to live like this...understanding and believing in a Higher Purpose to my woes and this life. Understanding each experience can be turned into a pool of Wisdom, if one is open enough to be aware of the Eddies suddenly appearing within the River of Life.

Practice, practice, practice.  I make mistakes, I miss reminders, I shrug off miraculous events...I can send out negative energy in such great amounts Tree Beings shiver in their roots. Ask anyone.

During those times, I have taken control and have forgotten a Higher way.  But I liken it to falling off the wagon...I can catch up to that wagon, get back on...and be welcomed. Again and again.

And suddenly, in this World, have you noticed how the practice of Spirituality is quickly becoming mainstream? When I was young, before the Internet became a part of my journey through life, I rarely found anyone who believed what I recognized as being true.

Whatever I am, whatever label is placed on my beliefs, whether governments believe Spirituality can be practiced or not, the word defines how I try hard to live, mostly.

Unless I fall off Creator's wagon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Memory Room

I have lived here for nigh on a year.  We have completely redone the house from top to bottom, having, just over the holidays, laid a new floor throughout our home.

The only room, other than the old kitchen and laundry room (which will be done after Graham's woodworking shop is built) to not have one thing done to my office.

A friend commented, with some surprise...Your office feels so masculine.  I told him it was because for many years it was used by a male...someone who did not care much about decorating. And I told him it was on my list of things to do.

This morning, I sit here and look around, my eyes growing larger as I notice the sheer volume of stuff.  Very, very important stuff, to be sure...but where are the elves who sort and tidy, or the fairies who manage to hang pictures and photos just so?

They must be busy elsewhere.

My problem, when I attempt to tidy, is I get caught up in whatever I am tidying. This stuff is all interesting, otherwise I wouldn't have it, but much has been forgotten about it.

And so, when I find a thing I haven't seen for awhile, I reconnect to the memories and emotions associated with it. This can take much time, in fact, hours can go by spent in reverie.

But very little gets done, when I spend time thinking about my mess.

On my desk, for example, I have all the accoutrements that go with computers...but I also have pens and pencils, batteries, small stones and pebbles, staplers, smudging tools and dried herbs, thesaurus(3),cameras and cases, paintbrushes and paints, candles, stamps, paper for the printer, important research papers for articles unwritten as yet, calendars, eyeglasses and cases, a small cauldron used for ceremony, too many photos to count...and my bowl of licorice.

Sometimes, the licorice gets dusty. I have eaten my share of dust, when I am completely into writing.  One can tell, after one has chewed, that these small drops have been sitting in this dusty office for some time. Their taste changes.

All the previously mentioned items are on my desk. But all around it are boxes and totes, paintings yet to be hung...or not, picture frames, stacks of magazines, a pile of books and items to be sent on to the Coast, my old typewriter, and many very old cameras which I collect.

In simple terms, my office has turned into a catch-all.  When I unpacked, every item I could not immediately place elsewhere went into this one little room.

And since January has always been a time of new beginnings for me, I have decided it is time to become organized within my office once again.

Organization of the many things in here will make me feel much better.  I may not throw much out; in fact, I doubt anything will be discarded.

What I need, I think, is one of those Organizers who come to one's home...those ruthless people seen on TV who have no scruples about throwing out pebbles collected by a child many years ago...

I take that back...anybody who touches my collection of pebbles with the idea of discarding them will not like my reaction.

Those ruthless Organizers would probably also throw out the funny little stick which stands in a corner. It was one of the first gifts my stepson gave me and I use it as a Wand. Many, many memories are attached to its unassuming stance.

But you know what? My office is also my memory room. Stories are created here, from all these dusty things.

I need another in which mundane office items can be stashed, leaving room on my desk for the pebbles, feathers, photos, wands and candles. Leaving room for the muse to sit on a corner of my desk and visit for awhile.

As I look around, I notice my desk could be placed against the East wall.  I notice,as well, if I did this, there would be more room for those organizational cabinets I'm thinking of.

And I think of the lovely green I have picked for this North facing room.  It will feel like an extension of the Forest which begins just a few feet away. I imagine misty green
light from the Forest filtering through the window, washing its loving, cleansing sense throughout, finding hidden corners and turning them pristine.

This room will be like that, once I begin. But I am convinced in a year, it will once again be dusty, filled with books and magazines and stuff. Once again, Spider will weave her web in unseen places, her magical web catching words better placed on paper.

Yes. It will no doubt have items strewn about here and there.  No doubt a pile of books will be waiting to be sent to the coast. Wands and feathers and the like will still be here, creating stopping off places for Grandmother Spider.

But there is one thing I know for memory room will have feminine energy! 

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas on the Coast

We left for the Coast on Christmas Day in a roaring Blizzard, packed to the rooftops with gifts and baking.  We drove on hard-packed icy roads until we reached Hope... at the end of the Fraser Canyon route...a distance of almost four hundred kilometres.

I had my camera; usually I take pictures as we drive.  This time, I could not unclench my hands long enough to hold the camera. Indeed, my whole body stayed in one tense position all the way. 

The Coast had been blasted with a series of Snow Storms and even though the freeway beyond the town of Hope had at least one lane cleared, driving was difficult.  We saw the evidence of the Storms; there were many vehicles and semi-trailers turned upside down all along the route.

One logging truck, with a full load of logs, had overturned in a ravine on the side of the road.  With Snow settled on the cut logs and swirling Snow all around the wreck, it was easy to see how the Forest, which grew right around the spilled logs and upside down truck, might be beginning to reclaim her own.

Trips to the Coast are always rushed, because of the ferry required to reach the Island.  We had reservations for the three o'clock ferry; we could not allow Snow and Ice to slow us too much.

We made the ferry with less than an hour to spare...getting out of bed at four AM has its rewards, during a long, dark Winter's journey...

A very fine holiday with family ensued. Our grandkids, without exception, made both Graham and I the stars of their lives while we were there. And we enjoyed every joyous...and not quite so joyous...minute.

You see, we were all, once more, just as we were in the Summer, tied to the interior of the house, because of the inclement weather.  Snow lay piled above the raised deck; it was impossible to walk anywhere.

But we managed a trip to visit my sister and her family...and also to welcome the newest addition, baby Ender. When I visit the Coast, there never seems to be enough time to visit extended family. It was important this time...I rarely have the chance to keep up with my nieces and nephews and grands...and they were all home for Christmas.

The family rallied with one activity or another, and time passed far too quickly. Lighthearted fun prevailed, although there was time for girl's night where truths and misconceptions were shared, as they are each time we are together. Difficult as it may be, the bonding and understanding that occurs after a session is one which mothers, daughters, aunts and nieces all embrace.

And then.  Then it was time for leave-taking.  It was a great wrench this time, for me...I miss my family every day I am apart from them. I leave part of my heart with them, as I take part of theirs...

Again, we left in a howling Blizzard. But we seemed, as we moved along our route, to be outrunning the Storms which were advancing towards the Interior of the Province.  And so, I amused myself with my camera, some of the photos displayed here.

The Fraser Canyon Route has many twists and turns, which, when covered with Ice, can make driving treacherous, of course. But on the way home, with no deadline to meet, the drive seemed easier.  And the roads were somewhat better, even if we left our overnight motel in Chilliwack very early on a frosty, snowy morning. The roads seemed to be littered with glittering diamonds reflected from the headlights of our vehicle.

As tired as I was, beyond belief tired, a camera in my hand keeps me awake and interested. A photo taken in the blink of an eye through a mud-spattered window takes concentration. Not always did my attempts at capturing the essence of the icy, dirty highway bare fruit, but some did.  It is always those few which keep me returning to finding the elusive shot taken from a car window. 

Along the way, I mused upon what I wanted to accomplish in 2009. I already have so much; how could I ever improve upon my life?

But there is always something.

As we turned into our quiet, snow covered road and into our driveway, the trip home finally over...I realized, suddenly, the improvement on which I needed to focus.

I believe I will propel my attention on others and to myself. Kindnesses to others, in word and deed, are not so difficult for me; kindness to myself will take some work.

And I know I will have to work at being kind to myself, because even the thought of it is frightening...and thoughts which frighten me...well, they are difficult and will take much effort to carry out.

But it is the new Year...the year of 2009, the Year of the Ox.  It seems appropriate, somehow, to learn how to please myself.  At the moment, it feels like selfishness.  I will have to learn to move beyond that...

And along with being kind to myself, I want to learn to receive kindnesses from others...with grace.

Christmas, Blizzards, and long trips on icy roads all lead to deep thought, when one is a passenger...