10.20.19

What I’ve been up to:

Listening to flamenco, and the rain.

Still studying, but we are getting pretty tired of it
I also went to my 25th high school reunion. First time for everything!

What was beautiful:

Photos from Burning Man

Bach on the cello in the rain

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

VARIOUS PIECES ON UNCEDED TERRITORY –

A guide to acknowledgement

The incredibly cool Native land map really shows how complex this is. Another map is here

Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgement – at the Guardian

Vancouver Milestone (2014)

BC Milestone (2017).  “the courts have been increasingly firm that the Crown in B.C. does not have clear title to the land and its resources…In the rush to establish the colony of British Columbia, governor James Douglas skipped over the stage of negotiating treaties. In 1859, he issued a proclamation that declared all the lands and resources in British Columbia belong to the Crown. At that time, the colony had about 1,000 Europeans and an estimated 30,000 Indigenous people.”

Our home is on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam (xʷmәθkʷәy̓әm), TsleilWauthuth (Sәl̓ílwәtaʔ/Selilwitulh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Kwiketlam (Coquitlam) First Nations.

We acknowledge our home is built on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish people – səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō), Qayqayt, and Stz’uminus, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations.

And then there’s this:

VARIOUS PIECES ON DOGS-

Dogs can pick up on our stress

Dogs understand our feelings

And a similar piece on raven communication

Some more articles –

The positive effect of puppies on marriages. For a school paper I’m writing.

Turkish temple pre-dates Stonehenge by 6,000 years

Narcissists in relationships

Why women cheat

On attachment (and love)

Having someone to love and something to do isn’t everything. Do less and disconnect?

How to choose a psychotherapist

Cats on leashes

10.13.19

What I’ve been up to:

Still dancing and studying and puttering…in between naps.

walking dogs in the fall sunshine and watching our neighbourhood turn to gold.

What was beautiful:

Important instructions from Flying Edna: making stars
Fall sunshine in East Van
Tim Burton exhibit now at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

On procrastination. So very relevant.

What to do about climate change. All of my banks are assholes. I hate banks.

Preparing my garden for winter. I didn’t inherit much of one at the new house but I want to have a good one next year.

Principles of a climate-friendly diet. I feel like I have the basics down but definite room for improvement, especially with regards to packaging and processed foods. Also wine.

Why some people become life-long readers. Not an introvert, didn’t see parents read, didn’t have books at home growing up…somehow (my birth mother was an avid reader), I am the exception and just like them.

Relationship expectations. Also very relevant.

When you lose momentum, you become vulnerable to distraction. I go through this nearly every day these days.

The myth of soulmates. “while I hate the idea of marriage as “hard work,” long-term relationships are borne out of deliberate choices, not fate. We choose to stay together, or not; we choose to put the other person’s happiness first, or to lay it aside in favor of our own. We decide to stay faithful or cheat, to be an equal partner or let the other carry the weight.”

On life after 75. I’m with this guy, I can’t get into it.

Benefits of short-term therapy

Dog owners may live longer

Alternatives to meditating

Learning to be happy alone

Communication and lasting relationships

Talking to therapists about climate change

More and more Canadians getting banned from the U.S.

Using dogs to re-seed the forest

Neil Gaiman tells an amazing story about David Bowie and compassion:

9.29.19

What I’ve been up to:

Dancing and studying mostly. Bit of stuff around the house.

What was beautiful:

Portraits of our addiction to smartphones. beautiful project, not so much the sentiment / trend / reality
This amazing picture of a Namibian mining town, with no photographer attribution on facebook.
this table, that I accidentally fell in love with while looking for lighting

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

How to experience wonder as a grown-up

The Origin of all 651 Street Names in Vancouver. I love maps and origin stories so this epic nerdery is right up my alley. Or my street, as it were, which is named after a landowner.

Signs you may be an introverted extrovert. Or maybe just shy.

Why all your relationships turn out the same

Maybe you’re unhappy because you’re trying to be happy

The American Brain

The power of consistently doing the right things

How to age with elegance

Unlearning how to complain

Making your relationship better

The Tukoyuktuk travel brochure. You can now drive there year-round and Instagram shows many people posing with their vehicle in front of the Arctic Ocean sign… but not a lot else going on. I have been obsessed with Tuk for about as long as I can remember and I will get there at some point but it seems like it’s going to take about 100 hours.

Also, the Greenland Hiking Guide and the Arctic Trail Intro because I am also obsessed with hiking the Arctic Circle Trail. 2020 is the year that I will get to the Arctic and it is going to be a dive trip but I feel like these are not far behind.

Also thinking about sneaking a trip in between Mexico / finishing my pre-req classes and Mexico / starting grad school. Current shortlist: Zambia, Norway, New Zealand, Beijing.

The practice of self-inquiry – ask yourself these questions.

You can’t afford to be a fragile little tea cup

On the strangeness of Octopuses. I will always read anything on this subject.

How to be kind

The absurdity of having one soulmate

On nature-deficit disorder

On the pursuit of happiness

Learning to articulate a wider range of emotions

On good and healthy food

On difficult conversations

How to silence negative thinking

440 pairs of shoes hung on a wall in Turkey to commemorate the Women Killed By Their Own Husbands Last Year

9.10.19

What I’ve been up to:

Whoosh! The past 2 months have gone by in a blur, as I knew they would. Right in the heels of moving countries and getting unpacked and back into school, I took off for a motorcycle ride on Vancouver Island. It was a lovely event, combining a loop around the southern tip of the island with refugio stops along the way where we had small tasks to complete that would cause us to reflect on where we were (literally and figuratively.

Then some Ravens came up from Seattle to go on a motorcycle ride up to Lillooet and over the Duffy Lake Road loop. Matt was meant to come with but just before we left, Riley got stung by a wasp and her poor jowls swelled up like crazy.

The next weekend we were off to Wales for the wedding of our dear friends, Jules and Dan, which was not made less sudden and exciting by having be planning the trip for over a year. Moving countries is tiring! Weddings are exciting! These are the facts.

We didn’t have a lot of extra time, but Matt and I did some favorite (British Museum, 7 Dials, Shoreditch) and new (National Gallery, Dishoom, Bletchley bar, Shakespeare at the Globe, Tower of London) stuff in London then rented a couple of triumphs to ride out to Wales, passing Tintern Abbey on the way out and Stonehenge on the way back. Unfortunately on our last day in town our airbnb got broken into and our laptops and Matt’s camera were stolen.

Last weekend we had a housewarming party, at which the only photo I took was of our handsome (and delighted) host and now I am back to the books for real, trying to get finished the Psychology pre-req classes that I’ve been taking online so that I can get into the real meat of grad school and a job. I’ve also started flamenco classes in earnest, kicking it off with a bang in conjunction with the Vancouver Flamenco Festival and some workshops with visiting teachers this weekend.

What was beautiful:

Studies in purple and blue, from Vancouver Pride and Hotel Zed in Victoria:

Vancouver Murals

and this one in Victoria
this powerfully old tree

Stuff around town:

Netsuke

This episode on the Sycamore tree at the Anthropocene Reviewed

This Chinese script used only by women

Stuff around London and Wales:

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

and I have finished one Psychology textbook but there are still 4 more to go, plus all my notes.

ARTICLES –

Life Quotes

ON HEALTH & RELATIONSHIPS –

Joy is Rebellion

Dance as an intellectual pursuit

More on drinking culture “high risk’ drinking in women (four or more drinks a day on a weekly basis) rose by 58 percent between 2002 and 2013, and 65 percent in other adults. Among women, alcohol abuse and dependence rose 83.7 percent.” from this study

Reframing – “You can transform anything into gold.”

Getting past stonewalling

How to Live Intentionally in the 21st Century

Assessing Health Outside of BMI

The Subversive Power of Gratitude

How unreliable memories of your past shape your present

How to handle other people’s bad moods

How to stop interrupting

ON POLITICS –

No country for old moderates – “The middle” is a fairytale for Democrats who want to believe it can save us from Trump, and a lie conservatives need to stop us from fighting for what’s best for Americans. But we don’t have time for fantasies, and the stakes are too high to let Republicans tell us what to talk about and what to fight for.”

ON TRAVEL –

Planning our London trip

Newfoundland Foodie Roadtrip

ON ANXIETY –

Groundedness in the age of Anxiety

Embracing stress

The relationship between screen time and depression – “Does social media use go up among depressed youth because they remove themselves from real-life interactions and only connect to others online? Or does social media interaction cause depression?”

What is mental toughness and where can I get some? – “According to Clough’s model, mental toughness is made up of four components that psychologists call the “4Cs:” challenge, control, commitment, and confidence. A mentally tough person interprets challenges as opportunities and believes they can maintain control in their life.”

Some people won’t like you and that’s ok

ON WORK –

Who heals the healers?

How psychiatrists are preparing to prescribe MDMA

Professionals want to know what they’re bad at. I’m so glad this is out there. I think about this all the time.

You are your work (and that’s a good thing)

Question asking increases liking (a study)

7.21.19

What I’ve been up to:

Largely just unpacking and trying to find places to put things. This house and garage are slightly smaller than our place in Seattle but we also have tenants that live in the suite downstairs so we are Marie Kondo-ing the hell out of our stuff.

Whenever we need a break we take the dogs and head out to explore the neighbourhood – Hastings-Sunrise – in a new direction. It has historically been an Italian neighbourhood and you can’t go a block without passing an urban farm covered completely in tomatoes, grapes, runner beans, huge fig trees, and at least one mature olive tree. We’re walking distance to Rupert park, New Brighton Park (and pool!), and an excellent cafe and coffee roaster. All the delicious restaurants and small grocers on Hastings and Commercial are within reach as well and getting out of the city is so easy. We (dogs included) are so stoked.

We celebrated being moved in by going to see Rebirth Brass Band perform at the folk festival in Jericho Beach Park and it was so great to hang out in the sun with our friends, listening to great music. The night unfortunately ended with me losing my phone, getting a parking ticket and discovering that someone had hit my truck in the parking lot, but our happiness remains unaffected. It is so good to be home.

What was beautiful:

Our new house and our neighbourhood are basically the best but seeing the sun set over the city from the folk fest at Jericho Beach Park – as well as this rad split-window VW bus – was incredible.

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

Nothing new. The paper books were all packed and I lost my iPhone so no audiobooks either.

MUSIC –

Our neighbour is a very accomplished ragtime pianist so we’ve been enjoying hearing him, and it seems our tenant also plays guitar.

ARTICLES –

Creating intimacy – how to do it and why we need it so badly, but also includes this gem that feels very true:

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer.”― Ed Cunningham”

How I made myself lose my phone – interesting read made even more so since I lost my phone last night

Climbing Mt. Rainier. This is something that I really want to do so the detailed account is pretty great

Coral Bleaching Caused by Excessive Nitrogen Levels (and not *just* from global warming). I’m not sure I care that much about the cause, but it’s good to know.

Habits of UNsuccessful people. What not to do.

Floating artist residency re-established in Vancouver. This is just so unbelievably cool. I want in.

>6500 recycled flip flops used to create wildlife art

What to do when the excitement fades

Noble Pursuits:

  • Inward (health, joy, and peace)
  • Outward (communion, purpose)
  • Upward (wisdom, freedom)

Hacking your creativity – “particularly creative people have higher levels of alpha activity, the brain waves that are associated with a relaxed and “ready for anything” state of mind. And how can you encourage this alpha activity? Meditation.”

More on quitting drinking

ON HASTINGS-SUNRISE HOOD –

7.14.19

What I’ve been up to:

Well first and foremost, we are still in the midst of moving to Canada and while there have been some serious snafus this week, we are getting past the point of no return. MANY papers have been signed, the car has been sold, all of our worldly possessions (excepts animals, plants, paint and some other stuff the movers won’t carry) has been packed onto the truck and we are camping out. We head north in the morning.

Seattle, we will miss – and especially our friends – but we will be back often and hopefully people will come to visit. But I am feeling the sadness of leaving this house. It was the first property that I owned and we were not planning to move so it will always be the place where we got Tyler and went through his bilateral knee surgeries, quarantining him in the bedroom so that he wouldn’t run or jump and carrying him down the stairs to pee. And then the hours I spent recovering from my motorcycle accident and subsequent surgery staring out the window at the pear tree. There were the raised beds I kept putting in (until we ran out of room at 7), and the stone walkway that I did myself, and my plans to level the yard that ended in the discovery of the surprise well.

Also where we built a free library and cooked paella over an open orangewood fire – although that didn’t happen until our going away party last week

But prior to the whirlwind of packing and paperwork, I took a quick trip down the coast with my Triumph, almost to LA. Partly I was killing time until the movers arrived, and staying out of Matt’s way while he cleaned up his garage projects, but it was also a chance to visit the remaining locations in my McMenamins passport and some other points of interest. So down to Portland then hopped through McMinnville, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, Roseburg to arrive in Grant’s Pass.

Then through the Redwoods where I passed many trees much larger than my motorcycle – and actually drove through one , down Hwy 101 to the sea glass beach, past otters and sea lions and an elephant seal rookery, through all the twisties to the top of Bolinas Ridge, then down over the Golden Gate bridge, up and down a crazy San Fran street hill that I shared with a streetcar, through Big Sur to Morro Bay where I spent two hours in a cafe courtyard feeling warm for the first time on the whole trip. I decided I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do in LA so saved it for another time and went inland to Bakersfield (almost immediately becoming way too warm). The next day I didn’t want to hang out on I-5 so got up early and barreled 830+ miles north back to Portland and home the next day via the newest and most beautiful McMenamins property in Tacoma.

Normally I do not stop in big cities when I’m on a road trip with limited clothing and makeup but I’ve been wanting to visit the Musee Mechanique in San Francisco since the last time I drove through there (20+ years ago) so rode my motorcycle right onto Fisherman’s Wharf and started exploring. It did not disappoint.

And now that we have some downtime between moving events, I have started planning a dive trip to the Arctic. I was so cold on my moto trip to Cali that I think I’d better get this booked ASAP. The most likely option is this one but if I win the lottery or fall in love with ice diving, this one (hosted by the company that made my drysuit) sounds like a dream.

Plus Airbnb has launched an Adventures page, where you can book whole trips like this amazing one around the world. So now I am updating wish lists and travel plans.

Finally, Duolingo (one of my favourite apps – for language) introduced Arabic (which I have badly wanted to learn) so fitting that into the cracks.

What was beautiful:

So many beautiful things from my trip but the collections that struck out were the vintage neon and ghostwriting (usually in smaller towns), beautiful wildflowers blooming everywhere (plus gorgeous succulents in SoCal), the treasures and art in various McMenamins locations, but mostly I fell in love with what I came for – the trees and the sea – and what I brought with my – my motorcycle.

This etsy shop

These two stories of the day by Brian Andreas that really speak to where I’m at right now – signature move and fine line:

People spending the 4th of July sitting with shelter dogs

Stolen wallets from the 1940s found stashed behind a bathroom wall

What I’m reading and listening to:

MUSIC –

Tangled up in Blue, Johnny Cash, Janes Addiction and our signature moving song – Eye of the Tiger Remix

BOOKS –

It can hardly be called a book but with all the helmet time lately, I’ve been trying to memorize Howl, so have read that poem over and over again.

ARTICLES –

Annie Leibovitz photographs five women running for president

What’s wrong with a little validation?

Hang out with people who fit your future, not your history

The best love is ordinary

On adjectives – https://medium.com/@JessicaLexicus/adjectives-you-want-to-hear-about-yourself-f15e1c14e9bd. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately – how other people must see me and it’s interesting because it is such a rare thought these days. At some point, I did really stop caring or at least considering it. Sure, I conform. I get all the subliminal messaging about culture but I don’t often stop to think about how I am perceived. Even when I am looking at photos I am judging myself, instead of seeing a new angle. But I have been thinking that I am not well liked and trying to figure out why that is…how I am categorized. What certainly doesn’t change is that I will continue to try to be a good person and try to be kind, because it is the right thing to do. “Kindness isn’t an investment in a specific person, but the kind of world you want to live in.”

ON HEALTH –

Ways for seniors to stay active. I am kind of obsessed with not being old and decrepit.

Recovering from Creative burnout

When your partner won’t say how they feel “A mismatch in emotional expression is commonly described in therapy. But the answer is not to press your quieter partner into being the same as you.”

“It can be hugely frustrating to be with a “silent” partner when you like to talk.”

Getting through procrastination “Remember: if you’re engaging in something that is not your High Impact Action, then you are likely procrastinating.” Also remember: “never, EVER, skip twice”

Resisting the attention economy

On marriage – “This is what marriage does better than anything else. It forces you to look hard at what you want to be and acknowledge that someone else, someone you love, cannot give it to you. Even after spending 25 years with that person, the only way to get there is to change yourself.”

On marriage health – Spotting cracks before they become canyons

Reversing the scarcity mindset – “scientists have found that loneliness can induce a scarcity mindset. Being narrowly focused on what we don’t have erodes our capacity to make choices that serve us long-term”

7.02.19

What I’ve been up to:

Oooph, it’s been busy! We had a party where we (finally!!) made paella over an open, orange wood fire and it looked, smelled and tasted amazing. More importantly, no one caught on fire and even more importantly, many of our friends came to see us off on our next adventure moving home to Vancouver.

Then I rode with my Rainier Ravens and Dykes Who Ride (aka Dykes on Bikes) in the Seattle Pride Parade. This was an amazingly joyous and beautiful experience but also triumphant because it was my CB400’s re-debut back into the world (in grand style) after we crashed into a truck.

And then to celebrate Canada Day, I went to visit the wolves and their friends at an animal rescue. What an amazing experience.

Seems like a long time ago but Matt and I also went to see El Dorado at the Can Can and laughed our asses off. So funny, and sparkly!

El Dorado at the Can Can! Glitter chaps and pasties.

Now I am planning to go on a bit of a road trip to kill some time before the movers come but I’m exhausted and sore and not packed and it’s raining so not a lot of progress has been made there yet.

What was beautiful:

This article about my cousin’s project in the Straight. It’s a couple of years old but really good, especially in context with the musical component.

This story by Flying Edna. “It’s too easy to get caught up in the big death, she said, but it’s the little deaths that kill you.”

The chairs and tile in this old diner
Summer nights riding around, chasing sunsets.
Gypsy Caravans

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

MOVIES –

Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” Not sure how this got stuck into my head but I am loving it.

Belén López‘s music

The Anthropocene Reviewed podcast that I have recently become acquainted with, but I particularly loved this episode. So many good lines in there that I don’t have time to transcribe.

ARTICLES –

Birds fly by seeing magnetic fields

Three suprising solutions to climate change

The Hidden US Empire

The importance of life lists

The real story behind Gastown’s Gassy Jack. Doesn’t seem surprising to me.

Good news:

Peregrine Falcons Nesting in Seattle. Actually very common – they are a species that has adapted well to urban living – but cool to see some locals.

Cold swims could help with anxiety and depression. And here I thought I just liked cold water diving for the octopuses.

Bad news:

The high cost of cheap fashion

Greenland temperatures soar, melting record amounts of ice

Men and Women who perished trying to reach Europe

Animals are becoming nocturnal to avoid us / survive

Links found between grain free dog food and heart disease

A heartbreaking exhibit of clothes worn by rape victims – to prove it wasn’t their fault

Companies drain women’s ambition after only 2 years

ON EMPATHY –

Empathy vs. Sympathy. An oldie but a goodie.

ON SOBRIETY –

Breaking the booze habit “For drinkers who have become alcohol dependent, taking a short break is likely not an option. Many people who drink heavily have not had an easy road in managing their relationship with alcohol.”

“All my drinking was really centered around community and wanting that connection so badly with other people,” he says.

ON WORK –

Doctors without Borders do mental health

Counselors without Borders

People have more control over their emotions than we thought

Screentime and Depression

BC launches increased support for mental health and additions

Kids Around the World Photographed Surrounded by Their Weekly Diet

6.19.19

What I’ve been up to:

I had a free weekend with nothing on the calendar (tough to come by in these Seattle summer days!) so I hopped on the motorcycle and headed east. Well first south to Portland to collect some McMenamins stamps for my passport, then over to Hells Canyon in Idaho, up Lolo Pass into Montana and then back home, stopping in the town of Wallace (and fell completely in love with its quirkiness), Palouse Falls, and the Ginko Petrified Forest – so many things that I’ve been meaning to visit or that have caught my eye on the way to somewhere else.

Also trying to cram in some dog training so the dogs won’t bark in Vancouver and of course, finish off my online Psychology classes and grad school application.

What was beautiful:

So many things in Wallace, like this bizarre antique typewriter and the (unrelated) handwritten mining ledger.

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

Relationship habits

Being a good person

Cognitive Distortions and Depression

How to quit drinking when you love drinking

on ACEs: https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces, https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/part-2-do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces-playing-the-mirror-neurons-like-a-harp, https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/part-3-do-you-want-an-answer-to-aces-how-do-they-do-that

The Missing Element – need to know what time I was born

Woman invents tents that collect rainwater and store solar energy

It’s not always depression. Sometimes it’s shame.

6.9.19

What I’ve been up to:

Saying goodbye to the flamenco community with a house party (although I am still learning Sevillanas, and now have learned a couple of chords on the guitar)

and to the Rainier Ravens women’s motorcycle community with a motorcycle ride and beach bonfire party

plus some last minute dog training before we have new neighbours.

What was beautiful:

The Sinking World Plastic Project
Intricate paper-cut octopus
The art of Aidan Sartin Conte

This decorative African village

What I’m reading and listening to:

BOOKS –

ARTICLES –

VW Vans are going electric but not as pretty as the classic

Booklovers’ guide to Seattle

The controversial Madonna article

How to get your dog to stop barking

The Night Witches

FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early

British Doctors May Start Prescribing Art, Music, Dance

People are sick of drinking

Vancouver at the forefront of psychedelic research

6.1.2019

What I’ve been up to:

Study, study, study! and trying to see Seattle friends and favourite spots before we move.

Flamenco party tonight!

And hopefully riding my motorcycle soon. Been way too much riding around in cars with dogs.

What was beautiful:

My new art piece, “Corner of Hell” by M.Coombs

Bauhaus costume parties

Amazing clarity from Hinterland

I always love amazing maps

Decolonizing BC’s roadside history

Portraits made from DNA of cigarettes

What I’m reading and listening to:

And watching! Good Omens is amazing.

FICTION – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Finally! This has been on my list for years and I shouldn’t have waited. It is excellent.

NON-FICTION (ish) – Artful. I do love absolutely everything about Ali Smith.

& still psychology everything! ON PSYCH –

Self-care isn’t enough. We need community.

Inuit mental health

Dealing with a partner with anger issues

Therapists on MDMA

ON WORK –

It’s never too late to start a brilliant career

Save the planet by working less

How to stay focused

ON LIFE –

The new beauty

Becoming irresistible “Humility is the soul. Curiosity is the mind. Empathy is the heart.”

BAD NEWS –

Ways the government keeps Native Americans in Poverty

GOOD NEWS –

Female chief comes to power, immediately annuls 850 child marriages

Amazon tribe wins lawsuit against big oil saving millions of acres of rainforest

New orca calf is born!

Willie Nelson rescued horses and let them roam free on his ranch

Sikhs aim to plan 1,000,000 trees by November

Riverview to re-open with $101m mental health facility