Chuggin’ along….

…we are.  Still doing ‘deckwork’ and, today, I welded up a couple of stanchions to hold railings.  We’ve rebuilt a set of stairs, started on the water closet and generally made a helluva lot of noise and mess.  Just chugg’n along doin’ what needs doin’.

The view from our deck

And so are the WHALES!!  Last few days, it has been practically Moby Dick-ish around here.  Humpies, this time – the last few times.  We saw a lone humpy a few days ago, then a couple yesterday and – just today – a family of three. AND the lone humpy came back heading south.  But the best part is their proximity. Most of the time they are mid-channel.  But, at least twice for Sal and three times for me, we have had them so close to our beach they could have been scratching themselves on Potty Point.  I would estimate that the closest they came was ten meters from the shore. They are BIG.

The whales were so close that Sally realized after the fact she shouldn’t have used a telephoto lens

Very nice to see.

I have to put in another plug for solar panels.  I know, I know….‘what more can be said?’   And I am definitely repeating myself but…….we have not had the genset on for three months! ALL POWER FREE FROM SOL!  That’s computers, lights, battery chargers and freezer and all the power tools anyone needs.  Plus the odd appliance. We are very fortunate.

Some poor bastards (47,000 at last count) have been sent fleeing from their fire threatened homes in air thick with smoke and ash while we bask in the ‘coastal version’ of our provincial summer sunshine.  The garden grows, the power flows and why we are so blessed, no one really knows.  But that’s the way it goes sometimes.  We are very lucky.

Nothing much to report – that’s why the lack of posts – and I accept that politics is off the table when it is so beautiful.  AlthoughI wonder how the Machiavellian politicians take advantage of the public’s summer focus on life and beauty instead of the economy….?  I am sure they have used that time for some subtle evil-doing but even I am in a ‘who cares’ kinda mood when the outdoors is so fantastic.  It is that kind of time right now….I just don’t care enough to comment on Trump, BC politics or any kind of politics right now.

Got my motorcycle running a few days ago.  Up and down a crazy hill to give it a test run. That was good.

Checked out the alternator on Charlie’s truck – the one we use now and then – and it is shot so I will get another and replace it next week.

Another new couple moved on to the island a short time ago. Sal met R at book-club. Part-timers, tho.  Pleasant. A good addition.  Population still hovering around 50.  Island about 50 square miles in size.  The ratio remains the same.

I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is having as great a summer as we are.

 

Been awhile……summer…you know…?

We’ve been busy.  Boat repairs are half done.  And we built a new deck down at the boat shed. Its about 16 x 12.  Pictures pending.  It’s good.  Looks good, too.  So far, anyway.

Sounds ambitious, doesn’t it?  Gardening, quilts, boats, decks.  Hosted a few dinners and a few guests already.  And a whole new deck? But this deck is not as HUGE as it sounds. It is the lazy butt-head deck (LBHD).  You see, the deck is half-tucked away and half out-front but even the out-front part is private and all. And, well, we were gonna build a bathroom for our guests and a deck unexposed is kind of a bathroom….you know?  I will put a nice vanity and sink on it.  I will make a cute little water closet.  And the shower can come off the boat shed wall….maybe install a curtain rod….sump’n modesty-wise fer the women-folk, ya know….?

Here’s the rationale: Making a foundation and building walls and stuff and stuff is a chore, requires energy and what the hell do you get?  Really?  A little cramped room in which to ablute, collect hair and grow mold.  For the year that we lived in the boat-shed while building the house, we were so bloody exhausted at the end of each day just doing the main chore that we dispensed with a real bathroom.  We made do.  We’d just macho our way into the sea to wash. Then we rinsed off with a solar bag on the old deck.  Yes, sometimes it rained.  Yes, sometimes it was dark.  Yes, that meant occasional nude sightings of us by rounding-the-point kayakers but that also served to perk us up. Abluting on the deck and diverting now and then to Potty Point (just around the corner) kept us nimble, alert, flower fresh and clean.  It was au naturelle but good. Kind of exciting in a peek-a-boo kind of way.

But we promised a bathroom and so we felt obliged to keep our promise (made to ourselves). However, our guest days are dropping.  Demand for facilities is falling off. We may only have 15 visitor-days this summer. We’ve had many, many more.  They were a load in the beginning…….sometimes.  This new number of visitors is more easily doable and, with a lazy-butthead deck, more easily doable with style. Minimal and spartan, to be sure, but still some kind of style.  Guests deserve a bit of style. Funky-rustic and bare-back style.  But style, nevertheless.  It will at least be better than dipping in the sea. Better than peeing off the deck in the dark. Better than no sink, no tap.

AND, don’t forget: it’s summer time.  They won’t freeze.  They’ll be fine.  I think a private deck with a partition or curtain, a few concessions to bodily functions and all done minimally will serve us and our guests very well.

And, best of all? I have ready access to my own bathroom when I want.

It’s all about me.

Quilting is a Gift

David defines quilting as cutting up perfectly good pieces of fabric into small pieces and sewing them together again. Of course I think it’s way more than that.

One thing I’ve come to realize about quilting is that it’s mostly a gift culture.  A gift culture is a very special way of exchanging items. Things are not bartered, traded or sold, but rather given away, without an agreement for immediate or future reward. (Excluded from this are the vast sums spent in fabric stores by quilters adding to their ‘stash’.)

Very often finished quilts are given away to friends, family or community. And frequently fabric, equipment, and, in particular, knowledge and ideas, are shared freely with quilters.

I made this quilt for a friend’s baby boy, Beckham. The interesting part of the process for me was designing it on my computer using Microsoft Paint. It took only a few minutes on the computer and the final product ended up looking remarkably similar to the initial design—not always the case for my quilts which often morph as they progress.

The following quilt is made from cozy flannel that I found in Arizona and is unlike anything I’d seen here in Canada or on-line. I had in mind the cabin belonging to our friends and neighbours, John and Jorge, when I bought it. It was perfect, in a rustic cottagey kind of way.

At the time I thought I was making a quilt entirely different from the batik paper-pieced quilt that preceded it (pictured in my November 2016 guest blog). After having the new flannel for a short while I realized with surprise that the colour scheme was exactly the same as the batiks’.

I don’t always use patterns as I usually prefer to design my own quilts. However this twister’ pattern appealed to me and seemed perfect for the flannel. A special cutting ruler is needed for it—a fellow quilter was happy to lend me hers.

A cushion for my friend, Pat, and another for my daughter, Emily, were two smaller quilting projects.


 

 

 

 

 

The quilt below is a special one made for an island mom when her new baby was born. Grandma distributed squares to twelve of us to quilt in a mom and baby animal theme. Cooperative quilts like these have been made quite a few times to celebrate island events.

My very first quilt included Sashiko stitching (shown in the previous blog). I am still intrigued with this stitching so there  is  a new quilt in the works for which I have done some very non-traditional Sashiko work and purchased some authentic Japanese fabric.

Thanks to my old (length of friendship not age!) friend, Joy, http://www.avintagegreen.com/ I am the proud owner of a Singer Featherweight sewing machine. Joy is an antique dealer who found this machine and generously gifted it to me—I will be eternally grateful. It is the premier sewing machine for quilters as it is light to carry and clicks along stitching a perfect stitch year after year. Mine was made in 1952, the year I was born, so I feel a special affinity for it.

The older hand-operated Singer (below) was perfect when David and I lived on boats many years ago. I could repair sails easily, even if we were under way. It was a gift from another friend who was clearing out his parent’s home. Even though it comes with a lovely wood carrying case it is not remotely portable—it weighs a ton.

The sewing machine I use as much as the Featherweight is a trusty Jenome. I don’t know its age but it’s at least 20 years old. I bought it when my daughter’s school was replacing their machines. I have no plans to get a new computerized model.

This quilting table (with the beginnings of a quilt for David and my first grandchild laid out on it!) was a gift from a fellow islander when a family member, who was an avid quilter, died. I never met her but I have been told stories, by her friends, of a vibrant and outgoing woman. I feel that I am getting to know her a little by using her things and I think of her often when I’m sewing.

In my first guest blog I left readers with a request  to help give my quilt “Walking On Sunshine” movement and life. I took some of your suggestions to heart and did a lot of hand-quilting in turquoise on the quilt. It gives it new vibrancy and texture to the point that I now really like it. I like it so much, in fact, that I recently gave it to a friend whose name it seemed to be calling.

As you can see, I have gifted quilts and received equipment and more. But by far the greatest gift to me has been from the women of the Quadra Quilting Guild that I joined two years ago. They have all graciously shared their extensive knowledge and expertise, patiently answering my never-ending questions and Michelle even tuned up my Featherweight for me! They exemplify the gifting society. Maybe David will be willing to amend his definition of quilting?

 

Spoken too soon…

Sal, it seems, is NOT quite ready to guest blog.  Not yet.  “Too much pressure.”  She’ll do it (in her own time which is somewhat akin to Island-time or manana or on-the-if-come or the never-never plan….) but she ‘first has to gather her thoughts together’.  

It’s just quilting!  How many thoughts can there be?

“Just?  JUST???  DID YOU SAY JUST QUILTING????”

Sorry…….never mind….when you are ready.  Whatever.  Hey!  Look!  A squirrel!

(Thank God for squirrels)

Is it just me or did anyone else notice that a public housing concrete highrise building in London CLAD in flammable panels and filled with household goods burnt like a Roman candle but remained standing……unlike the vaunted World Trade Towers built to much higher standards, with sprinkler systems and occupied by comparatively less flammable materials-in-offices which fell like a house of cards?  Unlike building 7 which, un-hit and un-burned just fell in sympathy?  Box cutters and kerosene, eh?  Who knew?

Seems Clark outdid even my cynicism.  She ‘just found’ billions of extra dollars for children, no less. Wanted to help the welfare recipients, too, the sweet lass.  And found herself agreeing with dozens of NDP/Green ideas and policies which, just a few months ago, were anethema to her.  And who said phony, smiling, lying, two-faced politicians can’t learn from their mistakes, eh?

Book 2 is chugging along like an old Citroen 2CV going uphill.  NOT a book-on-fire but moving out like a sloth on downers after a heavy night of partying.  Still, movement is movement.  That book could use a good enema.

Got boat project #2 over last night.  Brought it down the hill, rolled off the steep to the beach.  Jangled over a few rocks (slowly) and heard a ‘snap’.  Seems the neck of the boat trailer was somewhat rustier than it looked and the trailer snapped a few feet back of the coupler-hitch.  That was a smidge awkward as I wanted to go another 75 feet or so.  Four-wheeling it over boulders is hard enough with the trailer working properly but when it resists by dragging it’s face in the sand, it gets dicier.  But we prevailed.  Got ‘er done.

Then we left it all at low tide un-tied.  Waited.  A few hours later, when the tide came in, the old boat floated off nice-as-you-please and we towed ‘er home, hauled it to the newly made marine ways and winched her up.

Anyone looking from a distance might think we knew what we were doing.

Summer partners arrived yesterday to a dock-not-far.  Of course, six or so months of NOT being in residence requires a lot of checking of pipes, carrying, stocking, turning on and checking, fixing, and generally getting reacquainted with ‘the old cabin’ and it’s systems.  And, just as typically, not all systems fire up or turn on just as one might like. So, old partner is getting older as he moves from valve to valve, switch to switch and lever to lever with trips to the workshop interspersed between.  Always reminds me of the swallows……..every year they come, fly around the ‘swallow-house’, gathering twigs, getting the ‘old place’ up to speed…..

….just heard him on the walkie-talkie; “Water is finally flowing!”  

Anyway………..summer is clearly here.  Fish are jumpin’ and the lettuce grows high…..

 

Another log or two for the fire?

Sal and I got the logs up and stacked over the last two days.  That job is not so hard.  Not for me, anyway.  My part is to run the top winch to get the log up the 120′ hill, take the log off the block and taykle, wrap up the ropes and chokes and then send it all back down the highline for Sal to receive.  Then I roll the logs at the top over to the temporary stacking area. She, in turn, pulls out the now-lowered block and taykle full-stretch to reach the next log down at her end of the highline, attaches the hook to a choke that she had previously wrapped around the log and then hauls like hell on the rope to pull the 400-500 pound log up into the air – well, one end is in the air. Sometimes it is Sal in the air if the log is too heavy.  That’s always fun. (What’s really fun is that she never gives up.  She’ll bounce and pull and yell even tho she is clearly outweighed and no amount of bouncing is gonna do it. Sometimes it is just hilarious.)  The other end of the log drags it’s butt up the hill as the winch winds it all up again.  Repeat. Sixty times for a full shed but we rarely need more than 30.  We did 25 this time.  Maybe 26.

Her job is harder than mine.  NOT because of the actual work although ‘hauling’ it up in the air is pretty hard for a 120 pounder on a 4:1 block and taykle lifting 400 to 500 pounds. Sometimes I have to go down with the chainsaw and cut a few of the bigger ones in half (after watching some bouncing and yelling first, of course).  But the hardest part is the footing.  There just isn’t any.  The rocky cliff is at a 35 degree slope right to the water’s edge so Sal is mountain-goating around the shoreline doing what she has to do.  And the logs are always higgly piggly.  THAT can get tiresome.

When all the logs are up in the temporary staging area, we then drag them 50 or so feet along the yard to the proper stacking area where they are – as you’d expect – stacked. When they are all stacked nicely, my next chore is to buck ’em into rounds with the chainsaw and wheelbarrow ten or so rounds down to the splitter.  That’s another 50 feet or so.  Then we split ’em, stack ’em and, later, put everything away.  It’s not a week’s chore for 30 year-olds.  But we take a week.  Sometimes longer.  Today a meeting got in the way.  Another day, it might be a guest, or laundry or a town day or a sinking boat or quilting…………..it never seems to stop around here.  Busy, busy, busy.

Still, it is our winter heat, it is a free resource (kinda) and it is good for ya.  Getting in the winter’s wood is a regular chore that always seems like a burden until it is done and then it feels like a job well done.

Speaking of which: I was not gonna write the blog this time.  This time was gonna be another guest blog.  Good ol’ Sal was going to put pinkies to the keyboard and write something on quilting.  I am on the edge of my seat. But, things got in the way.  She’ll do the next one, tho.  More pics, too.

Thar she blows! AND so do I!

Single, large humpback rolled through yesterday.  Very cool to see.  He/she was just a hundred or so feet off the beach just a’humping along.  NO whale-watching boats either! The interesting thing (for us) was not only the whale, but Sally.  She seems to have an ear for them.  She was up in the greenhouse, I was closer to the beach on the deck fixing some wheels (which I will get to) when she came shrieking around the corner, “WHALES!!!” (we assume more than one as a rule).  And then the lone whale hove into view.  I hadn’t heard a thing.

So…from whales to wheels…. as readers know, we have had a lower funicular for the last year.  GAWD!  I love that thing.  But the last time we used it I was not feeling the love at all.  It just squealed and got ‘caught up’ on the tracks and simply did NOT behave as it was supposed to. Squealing reluctance was a hint (which I have heard from various sources over my lifetime).  The wheels were just not turning.

Of course, this is to be expected when you occasionally dip wheels into the salt chuck but I had taken what precautions I could by buying nylon bushing, hard plastic wheels.  I knew the ‘frame’ of the wheel would rust but it would take years and they were bought as replaceable and they were not overly expensive.  But they seized up anyway. I was gonna have to take ’em off again to free ’em up.  So, we did that.  Now it works like a charm.

Maintenance, eh?

Even though they were billed as nylon bushings, the bushings were metal clad nylon (kinda defeating the purpose) and, of course, the shaft was mild steel.  So the two metals managed to cling lustily and rustily to each other despite the nylon between them.  I took ’em apart, cleaned them, lubed the hell out of them and replaced one with a s/s steel shaft to see what difference that will make.

What the wheels REALLY need are silicon bronze bolts/shafts.  Try to find 6 silicon bronze bolts 4 inches long 1/2 inch diameter in Canada.  The USA, simple.  But, of course, none of the USA suppliers will ship to Canada as it is a foreign country.  WAY too alien for them to accept.  Way to hard to ship……

I recently needed another kind of product from the USA, too.  Seattle.  Bought it before. Several times.  NOT this time.  “Sorry, we cannot ship outside the contiguous 48 states.” Never mind NAFTA.  Never mind my having an account with them.  Never mind ‘doing business’.  And never mind that you can almost throw the package this far, they ‘CAN’T’ do it now.  Now?  NOW?  Why NOW!!????

These are not isolated examples.  The Canadian border is like some kind of invisible restriction to  the ‘Merican thought process for some businesses.  They cannot seem to get their head around it.

So, why is the USofA having so much trouble mailing five ounces of crap over the border? Drug cartels don’t seem to have that problem.  Neither does GM, Proctor and Gamble and Coca Cola.  Hell, even Whole Foods and Walmart can do it.  But, Bubba?  An extra stamp on the package?  A different kind of Postal Code?  TOO HARD.  Fuggedabout it.

Is THIS how they intend to Make America Great Again?

Maintenance (yawn)

So much to write about………..so little time……but, worse, the ‘so much’ is mostly politics and, judging from the lack of comments from my last post, my reading public (of which I claim only 6 members) has no interest in what I am ‘going on’ about in politics at any given time.  I understand.  Even I am bored of it now and then. For the first time since last September, I said, “Oh, that bloody Trump!  I am so fed up with that nincompoop and his idiot minions, I just can’t listen to the news anymore.  I have had it with that crap!”

I could, of course, rant on instead about BC politics (Christy Clark in one of her last efforts as the premier, just gave all her ministers and cronies a huge raise in pay!).  Or, maybe, take a run at Mr. Photobomb, our peacock of a Prime Minister.  Does no one else see the hypocrisy of these staged-to-look casual, natural and ‘common-man-ish’ photo-ops that so OBVIOUSLY required Just-in to go running or kayaking with a professional photographer?

But, no one cares about all that.  I get that.  So, instead, I will share with you our last few days……

Other than the usual trial of a town day (Monday) Sal is having a fine time.  Quilting, yoga, socializing, book-club.  More socializing. Gardening, gardening, gardening and even more quilting.  Plus, of course, squirrels and ravens, eagles, herons, dolphins and even Orcas. It has been a pleasant week for our gal, Sal.  Me?  Well, I am a bit harder to please.  I have been entertaining myself by re-decking a small lower-deck, planning a new fuel-shed and doing some much needed tidying up. In other words, nothing much.

I am at a smidge of loose ends these days, really.  Mentally.  It is not as if I do not have lots to do.  In fact, I am getting a bit behind on my to-do list (like thirty pages behind!) and I have lots of interest in actually doing it.  Truly.  Eventually, anyway.  Just, well…..not right now.   I dunno….I am feeling a little lazy, I guess.  Ya know?

Part of it is that I like new projects and I hate maintenance.  At a certain point, all that you have done previously requires maintenance and the more you have accomplished, the more maintenance is required.  There is a tipping point, a place of diminishing returns, a point of no return where you have ten hours of maintenance for every ten minutes of ‘new’ projects.

I need staff.

We HAD staff – sorta – with WOOFers but they are the original diminishing returns when measured simply by work done.  What with ‘setting them up’, explaining what needed to be done, supervising and assisting on the doing of the chore and then doing the clean-up (’cause they didn’t know where everything went) plus the shopping for food, picking them up and providing accommodation and entertainment, it was a net loss proposition.  That is: IF you measured only by work accomplished.  90% of the WOOFers were a lot of fun and great company – some have become friends – but WOOFers are not staff.  WOOFers are guests, really.

We do not host WOOFers anymore.  We may again.  Someday.  But not now.  Not when there is work to be done.   Right now I need a troupe of skilled child slave labourers (to me, everyone under 30 is a child) that do not need food or supervision.      

And that is where I will leave this: there is work to be done, I do not feel like doing it and no one else is stepping up.  So I am at an impasse, a loose end, a ‘weird space’…..maybe I’ll start writing another book?  The nice thing about a book is that there is no maintenance.

Philosophy/politics…just a little…sorry

 

In our second book, I have a chapter on ETHICAL DISSENT.  Basically, it is a term I use to partially explain why someone might want to ‘leave’ the grid and ‘Get out. Get out NOW!!  Ethical dissent is manifest but passive disagreement with the status quo modern lifestyle I encapsulate in the term, ‘cul-de-sac’.  In that sense our living off the grid is a protest, a rebellion, a rejection of what has come to pass for normal living.

Kinda like the Amish but with solar panels instead of horse-and-buggies.

Of course, in the book, I beat the idea to death with all sorts of smaller ways to dissent from bartering, trading, using cash and gifting to ‘feeling trapped’ and protesting all the rules and regulations of urban living by even breaking some of them.  Or moving away. Basically, I whine and moan and then suggest that, instead of complaining, one CAN DO something and moving off the grid is just one of those ‘SOMETHINGs’.

I also confess that going off the grid is a bit of a resignation, a bit of a retreat, a senior chicken’s way out.  It’s healthy, natural, beautiful and fun, tho.  Buc, buc, ca-haw!

Nothing in Ethical Dissent is new nor is it a brilliant piece of philosophy but it is a contrarian’s view and I subscribe to it.  And I know I am not alone.  Many feel as I do.  In fact, the new ‘sharing culture’ term used to describe community-used cars and city-owned fleets of bicycles and that sort of thing is a similar response to a system that seems to be creating more and more inequity rather than more and more equality.  But that new sharing response is at least constructive rather than negative.  Many people are making much more positive efforts at small and local levels to effect social change than I am by opting out.  But there is a place for both routes.  There is choice.  There is awareness.  There is a movement of sorts.  It is all good.

However, it may not be enough.

The increasing madness of rules, regulations, obsessive-compulsive safety protocols, political correctness, coddling, compensating, apologizing and – the worst of the bunch – FEAR mongering has to be resisted.  NOT because all those things are so, so very wrong (usually, they have some merit, actually) but because, by emphasizing that mindset, by MOSTLY investing in policies, procedures and by relying on institutional-think, we are robbing people of initiative, motivation, excitement, adventure, inventiveness and their capacity for free-thinking. We are taking the fun out of life. Especially for the generation or two behind me.

The 20 year old of today is not firing on all four.  Neither is their 45 year old parent.  Read Ben Sasse: The Vanishing American Adult. Nutshell version: the children of today are bored at birth, raised in swaddling coddling and molded into conforming, well-schooled cowards who grow up with no vision, no sense of purpose and an unhealthy reliance on authority and government and back-lit screens.  Plus, they think drugs are recreation! We are breeding stone lemmings.

Well, maybe that’s a bit over-the-top but you get my point.  We are slowly losing our ability to thrive, survive and be independent by the subtle and not-so-subtle demands of urban living.  Modern life provides for you.  Does for you.  Lifts for you.  Carries for you and watches out for you.  Modern life is your mommy.  And it is NOT good for you and it is especially NOT good for your kids.  Modern life, it seems, sucks the life out of you.

THAT has all become increasingly clear to me as I lift and carry for myself, as I fix my own crap and as I become a teeny bit more independent.  OTG is good for you.  Well, it is good for me, anyway.  Sal, too.

And that is where we have to start – at the beginning of life.  Ethical dissent and the more positive side of that, Constructive Resistance has to be fomented and developed in kids. We need more positive resistors, rebels WITH a cause, impudent innovators and fresh free-thinkers.  We need to foster independence again.  It ain’t gonna happen indoors.  It ain’t gonna happen on social media.  And it ain’t gonna happen within the institutions we have now.  They all foster group-think.

To ensure that the BIG BROTHER mentality does not happen, we have to encourage all the little brothers and sisters NOT to conform.  We have to give them permission to step out of the box not seat-belt themselves in. And we have to start by getting them outdoors. It’s a first step.

“Dave, where the hell does all this nonsense come from?” 

Naomi Klein.  Naomi ‘smart-cookie’ Klein. She of The Shock Doctrine best-seller, she of the This Changes Everything best seller.  She of the recent analysis on the real threat that Trump represents.  Klein sees Trump as way more than just an Orange Clown, way more than the Idiot-in-chief.  Trump, she suggests, is not only a master of sleight of hand, misdirection and distraction but he is a larger-than-life con-man poised to implement his elitist .0001% plan as soon as some kind of ‘shock’ or trauma presents itself and provides the excuse.

In fact, by executive order, he has already attacked the latest Dodd-Frank-like rules of Obama that were put in place to protect the American public from more bank bail-outs.  He is setting everyone up for another con.

Bush implemented Homeland Security and the Patriot Act as his response to airplane martyrs with box-cutters and the people bought it.  Americans gave away a lot of their freedoms and liberties in exchange for protection from Arabs-with-pack-sacks and knives. Trump will do even worse in the name of safety and protecting the Homeland.  He already bailed on the Paris Accords in the name of protecting Joe-the-blue-collar worker.  And he can hardly wait to do it all throughout the US of A.  He may, in fact, precipitate that opportunity-in-waiting.  Klein thinks he will.

So do I.  F.D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   But most of us read or heard that to mean: “Don’t be afraid.  Be brave.”  Klein posits that it can also mean that fear is used as a weapon to enslave.  In an effort to be ‘be safe’ we VOLUNTARILY limit, restrict and inhibit ourselves.  We retard our own progress.  We stifle creativity.  And we allow BIG OTHERS to decide for us.  Fear is then – in that context – a tool of the tyrant.  And by NOT openly resisting, by NOT choosing to fight back, we are essentially acceding to the bully.  We surrender.  We are complicit. We are voluntarily enslaving ourselves and giving up our lives.

True: I chose NOT to fight back.  I went feral instead.  I saw it early.  I resisted.  I balked.  I even made a pathetic attempt at politics to ‘fight’ it.  But, I gave up and opted for nature, beauty and health instead.  And, maybe at my age, I made the right choice for me.  But make no mistake, a choice will have to be made.  And, if Klein is right, Trump will soon put that decision front and centre for you.  ESPECIALLY for Americans.

Choose well, my friends, we Canadians are somewhat caught up in your apron-strings.

Friends

A retired guy wrote.  He and his wife are off the grid.  Kamloops area.  Ten years. Sounded pretty happy.  Seemed like a nice guy.  We have a lot in common including mutual friends. It was good of him to get in touch.  I really like that sort of thing.

Another guy and his wife are dropping by in a few days.  In their sailboat.  From New Zealand, no less.  Our connection: other mutual friends from forty years ago. I really like that sort of thing, too.

A big sea-going ship (85-footer) dropped by the other day.  Friends.  We met while I was looking for an old genset 15 years ago.  He had one.  I bought it.  We’ve been friends since.  And I really like that sort of thing, too.

Got some ling cod recently, too.  Friend nearby.

And this sort of listing of friends could go on and on.  We are very fortunate to be able to say that. “We have friends.”  In fact, I  even have several bff’s from this blog, some of whom I have never met but I feel a closeness to nevertheless. And old Non-con is actually MISSED if he doesn’t show up now and then.  JA, too.  And Barb, Joy, Judy and Margy.  And Sue. And Anonymous. Gerry.  Sid.  Lots of Johns.  I would estimate that there are maybe a dozen I ‘connect’ with on this blog and no other way.  Yet, I still  feel we are ‘friends’.

I mention this (partly to avoid writing about politics which is currently gnawing at me BIG time) because one of my best friends reviewed our second book the other day.  It is NOT a posted review.  Not yet, anyway.  He was here visiting.  “I really liked it because it was just like being here and having one of our normal conversations, ya know?  Like four friends talking….with you doing most of it.  And Sally interrupting all the time.  It was really conversational.  An easy read.”

At which point, of course, Sally shouted, “Hey! Look!  A squirrel!” and the three of them jumped up and ran out of the room.

That is how they end all of my monologues now.  Getting harder and harder to finish a good rant nowadays.  Hell, it is getting harder and harder to finish a good story! (OK, maybe they HAVE heard some of those stories before.  Several times, perhaps. Still….. I am supplying free booze and cheese.  There is an obligation that comes with appetizers, ya know?)

Oh well, I never said friendships were easy.  But they are memorable.  I sorta feel it is my friendship-duty to at least be memorable.  Maybe NOT always easy but always hard-to-forget.

Try as you might.    

Can you hear…that?

Hah!  Knee good enough to test.  So, I am going back to work today.  On the edge of your seat, are ya?  I am excited to get back at it.

Sal-the-Intrepid tripped up and down the stream four or five times this week to sort out the water system.  It was not flowing.  But now it is.  Her chore included boating into the bay, hiking up and down the half-kilometer distance, cutting plastic pipe, attaching fittings under ice-cold water and clambering all over the hill checking for leaks and pressure.  The hike is steep and heavily overgrown.  Sal’s visiting sister, Mary, accompanied her once.  “It was an adventure!”  Sal carries a pack-sack full of tools and bits.   It’s hard work. So, she gets lots of points just for effort.  Results garners hugs and kisses and extra man-cooked-dinners (burnt, raw, weird). Mind you, her points balance reads like Bill Gate’s bank balance.  She’s got points up the wazoo.  I would have to cook and do dishes for 100 years.

My balance?  I am in the red (both types of accounts).  Oh well, one of us has to be the good guy.

Book 2 has – on the back cover – the exclamation: “Get out!  Get out now!!”  I am basically saying, “The cities are getting less and less livable all the time.  Some are positively dangerous.  Some are war-zones.  Why do it?  Why stay there?  Why live to work rather than work to live? Or, worse, have to work just to survive and barely accomplish that? Why not seek out an alternative?”

For those of you who live in Vancouver – look at Surrey.  Look at Fentanyl. Look at the cost of living. Look at the gangs.  Look at the despair.  And Vancouver is peaceful and safe compared to many.  For those of you who live in San Salvador, look through the barbed wire and barred windows of your home to the ten foot wall surrounding you.  You folks have waited too long. The rest of the world’s cities are somewhere between those two examples and they are all are too crazy for me.

If you choose NOT to look at the actual terror attacks in London, look instead at the massive and quick police response time.  Even tho one of the forces in play is the good guys, do you really want to be walking in some urban park with your kids as the police seek out and deliver a rapid fire response to knife wielding terrorists?  What if you chose to wear a colour that night that was the same as the terrorists?  What if you had a dark complexion?  What if the uniformed ‘roid-nut with the automatic rifle is just NOT that good at the job?

I was reminded of my own words (Get out!) reading about the latest London attack.  The police were yelling at the public and bystanders, “Get out!  Run like hell!”   I dunno about you, but I would be running without the need for instructions and further, I would run to the realtors the next day and put my Canary Row condo on the market with the heading, ‘OWNER MOTIVATED’.

I am not the only one who hears the deep, indistinct rumble in the background.  Am I?