And so this is Christmas

December 22, 2022

Hello – it has really been a long time. I feel like so much has happened.

I last wrote to you in June. Hard to believe. I did start a post in July, added a bit in August and a bit in November but so much of it is reflections on newsy things like war and the midterms. While the war rages on, the midterms are history. And I am learning to have fewer opinions.

Many of you know from Facebook that our father, who was 90, died on December 13. It was a peaceful death and a good death, for all that one can call death good or bad. But there definitely are peaceful and traumatic deaths (and many in between). This was peaceful and he knew we were there, his daughters and his wife. Frank Sinatra played on the iPhone by his head. I think the secret to having a good death is not being afraid. And he was not.

“Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don’t forget when you leave why you came.” ~ Adlai E. Stevenson

So, we’ve been in the house now since June 2. Almost seven months. We’ve accomplished a great deal. I’ll run it down for you. We upgraded to 200 amp, we put in a new water heater, hidden stuff like that. Added a gas line, changed the electric stove for gas and swapped the fridge for a bottom freezer. Had the kitchen cupboards painted red. First two coats of pink primer, I almost had a heart attack. Then three coats of red and all was good.

Then we found some red lights and just need to do the counters (butcher block) and the floors (b&w tile).

We added a gas fireplace (CW made the mantle from a local sawmill). We fenced the front and back yards. Prepped both and planted half (the rest coming in spring). Front yard will be a mini orchard (we have two large cherries in the back already): two dwarf apples (espaliered), two peach (espaliered), one hybrid four-variety plum, a three-variety pear, two dwarf cherries, a fig. Lots of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and a Saskatoon berry bush.

Out back has over 300 randomly placed bulbs already and will be all wildflower seeds with grasses, completely uncontrolled. We are really happy about the garden.

Then we got a dome (a greenhouse-type thing) on the front deck, where our view is the street, but it is south-facing. And a hot tub in the back. We think it will look glorious come spring.

Speaking of spring, there is snow here. Like at least a foot and probably more. FM. Seriously, dude.

WTF happened to my island? I’m not going to rant about climate change now, this is a Christmas post. Right? LOL. Not today, Satan.

Speaking of Satan, I got this killer gift for my friend’s Christmastime birthday. It’s a tea towel. I’m going to wrap a block of good Canadian cheddar in it just before I give it to her 🙂

I find that hilarious. Hope she does. What else? Have been feeding the hummingbirds out back and small birds – sparrows and chickadees – in the front yard while we have this cold snap and snow. Today is Thursday, it’s probably going to be gone by Saturday as the rains arrive Friday afternoon.

Let me think. What else has happened? We do love our house. This is a good thing because we are tired of moving. If it gets too large to manage, it would be super easy to suite it.

There are changes happening – big changes. The changes won’t be to our living arrangements (we do really love this house, and they can take me off this island feet first). I feel like it’s time to jump off the garage roof. Don’t get worried, we don’t have a garage. It’s metaphoric.

I’ll really miss my dad and what that tells me is that I’ve got 20 years left if I’m lucky (I was the first-born). Can you pull a rabbit out of your hat when you’ve only got 20 years? Can an old dog learn new tricks? Does an old dog want to learn new tricks?

Next year, maybe we’ll go away. There’s been too much snow this year.

I’m looking closer at my life. I started by getting Timber Buckeye’s monthly newsletter over at Buddhist Bootcamp.

The newsletter is once a month, a three-four minute read. Worth it. The book I bought was a collection of these called The Opposite of Namaste. The theory that really hit home with me, as simple as it sounds, is aligning your core values with your actions. In many (small) instances in the recent-ish past, I haven’t quite done that for various reasons. Ignoring (or doing) what you feel is morally wrong (or even reprehensible) because it is expected or perhaps because you don’t want to make waves — this misaligns your mind and your body (your core values and your actions). I am starting to get a deeper understanding of how our emotional state affects our physical bodies in negative or positive ways. And recognizing that much inner turmoil in my past has come from choosing the wrong path. I kind of want to go sit on a mountain for a month 🙂

Maybe in the spring. I have a gig, I think, for January and February, yet another old project come to life. Not a paying gig (yet), but it has the best chance out of them all. Not fond of his one, to be honest (it’s a dark story), but I’ll immerse myself (should it happen) for two dark months and come back in the spring when there is more light. What else have I got to do, and the rest of the winter will go by anyway.

I still have commercial writing gigs. I’m trying to get away from them. I’m almost too old to write shit for other people. Don’t really have the interest anymore. I am so done with ghosting anything unless it’s a story I love or one that will teach me a great deal. Certainly close to finished with anything that smells like marketing. If I’ve got 20 years left (maybe), I’d better start writing what I came here to write. If someone could tell me what that is, I’ll get right on it ???

And the rains started Saturday as advertised – 6am HERE!

And with that, I’ll sign off. With one of my favourite Guy Clark songs. He was older here.

And wishing each and every one of you a happy, happy holiday season. I’ll try to be better about writing next year. There will certainly be wildflower and mini orchard photos to come in the spring. And it’s done snowing, it’s raining today, up to 90mm of rain in the region by this afternoon.

So goodbye snow, hello Vancouver Island winter. All is calm, all is bright. Stay safe and happy.



  1. Lou Christen

    Glad you are back.
    Finish the house and garden(s) make-over and get back to writing. Great work so far.
    Parkinson’s getting worse, but slowly. Now Arthritis taking over: arms, hands and feet.
    Difficult talking and swallowing. One finger typing.
    Jane refuses to admit to being 84. Still going 110 mph w/ eye and knee trouble.
    Love & hugs,

    1. admin Post author

      Lou! So wonderful to hear from you! Jane will kill you for publishing her age ??? and remember – a rolling stone gathers no moss. I must get in shape this winter and, yes, write a lot. I have big plans. I’m sorry about your Parkinson’s and Arthritis, and this news makes me even more grateful that you took the time to write. I notice your book on my shelf often and smile, by the way. I love your voice. And your determination. Talk soon! Miss you both xo