December 10th to December 2nd

Posted on 10 December 2003


Fifteen days till Christmas and I’m not inspired. If I am truthful, nothing inspires me at the moment. Perhaps I have been doing too much and need to let myself be.

I received an email from Vaughan this morning in which she calls me, amongst other things, “expansive” and “giving”. I told her I wasn’t today, that I wanted to jump off the edge of the earth. This reminds me of a poem by Dorianne Laux:


“No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another–a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms…

Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them–
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.”

Perhaps I need to go for a walk and see if I can shake this lethargy.

I went to visit my mother last night. She’s just arrived from Toronto and staying at my baby sister’s. (My baby sister is 40 and just about to give birth to her third child. I held her rounded belly in my hands and felt the child roaming around inside her. It still amazes me that a human being is created inside a woman.) My mom will be 75 the day after Christmas and looks good. I think she is happy to get away from my father for a while and play with her youngest grandchildren. She doesn’t like my “no gift” idea but admitted it was crazy going out and buying all kinds of stuff that would be half price on her birthday. Oh dear, I think I will probably break down to please her. (There’s little voices in my head saying “She’s an old woman. You can’t break a habit of a lifetime.”)



I’m not much in the mood for writing as I’ve just come back from the dental specialist. He was quite charming, looked a lot like Rob, except he’s still has his Irish brogue (born and bred in Monaghan.) He spent well over an hour with me and said my mouth was in good shape and (sigh of relief) he really didn’t think I had a grinding problem and the mouth guard really wasn’t an issue. I have two choices: 1. implants – by far the best – at a cost of $16,000 (I did not add an extra 0) or 2. a partial denture at around $2000 that may or may not work. Unless I start making big money fast, the first option isn’t feasible.

I could swear for half an hour but what good would it do?

Gill wants a ride to the gym and I have to work at the store for around an hour. If I think of anything more inspiring than my wee mouth, I might return.


I appear to be thinking lots and writing little. I drove Gill to school for her 7 a.m. class, went to the dentist for a panorama xray of my mouth that I’m to hand-carry to the specialist tomorrow, and then went to work where there was so little to do, I ended up walking down to the water to dream and read. (Why is it that when one isn’t writing, thoughts flow and the minute a pen is in hand, the thoughts dissolve? Like dreams.)

I finished The Da Vinci Code. I liked the book, liked the idea that secret societies exist that believe in the sacred feminine, and that some still celebrate Hieros Gamos (Greek for sacred marriage.) Dan Brown, the author, swears that all his detail about the Holy Grail and sacred feminine are fact – based on five years of research. I wish he had included a bibliography. Although I hated the violence, I loved the riddles and cryptic messages. I also thought his argument about sex – the churches’ reasons for sabotaging it and turning it into sin; and hence people’s conflicted attitudes toward it – plausible. The ancients believed that it was the one way men and women could experience God. I must admit I especially love the idea that women are sacred and men incomplete until they have carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine. “Since the days of Isis, sex rites had been considered man’s only bridge from earth to heaven.”

The day has almost disappeared. I must return to the store for a hour or two and then… I’m not sure.


It’s Sunday and I’m moving slowly – rather pensive – after a day and night on Keats Island. There is something vastly romantic, in my mind, about islands and this one – wild and silent – reminded me of Mayne in the old days with its great trees, dirt roads, and sparse population.

Six of us approached by water taxi, stomachs lurching after a rough ride. Bett had just arrived from Langdale. Maureen, in gum boots and yellow rain jacket, looking like a true islander, was waiting smiling. (Maureen is nearly always smiling. She is one of the cheeriest people I know.)

We trudged along a winding uphill road, whining in the rain (or was that just me), until finally we arrived at her llama farm. Maureen and her partner Doug own seventeen of these beasts plus two donkeys and all turned their heads when we entered the gate and looked us over.

Roz, Shirley, Bett, Maureen, Venay, Marlene, and I were the French workshop women. Roz’ daughter, Marianne was invited as a substitute for joining us in France. (Even though the day was lovely, I think it a poor alternative to a week in the south of France, sweating and writing.) (I was going to add swearing but these wild women were doing a lot of that here and there.)

Once inside, wet gear off, we gathered around the fire, and ate and then we ate some more. We started with apple cake, cheeses, French bread, grapes, pomegranate, and chocolate. We moved on to baby quiche, barbecued salmon, wild rice, coleslaw, potato salad, and chocolate. We finished with a Notte Bon Ton chocolate cake, cookies, mandarins, and yes, more chocolate. (I think Marlene and Roz thought they were in heaven.)

In between mouthfuls, we talked about womanly things – great mysteries that I can’t tell as men read this journal. (We may have even shocked Marianne, at her tender age of twenty.)

The day disappeared and I decided to stay and rest by the fire for the night with Maureen (although heroically, we walked the others to the ferry.)

I am full of tales – there is so much more I could say – but must finish as I am meeting Gill at IGA for dinner items.


This first part of my blog is for my family.

Rob’s Christmas Wishes –
Rough Guide to Big Island of Hawaii
Yoga Zone: Power Yoga
Very Best of the Eagles
Citizen Kane (Special Edition)
Annie Hall (Widescreen/Full Screen)
An American Werewolf in London
Shutter Island
Dude, Where’s My Country?
The Vanished Man
Mind Games
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington…

Brendan’s Christmas Wishes –
A Technique for Producing Ideas
The Typographic Grid
Josef Muller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss…
Quirky Qwerty: A Biography of the Typewriter
Gestaltungsprobleme Des Grafikers

Mike and Gill’s lists coming soon.


No time to write this morning. I still have to shower, run to Capers for bread, stop at a hole-in-the-wall (N.I. for bank machine), pick up Gill, and be standing on the curb at 8:45 when Shirley drives by on her way to Horseshoe Bay to catch a water taxi to Keats Island.

Yesterday was a delight. I met Donna, now Maggie, at Serenity Cottage for a manicure and pedicure. I was wild. Green on my fingers. Purple on my toes. If I dance on tables today with my French writing women, I will definitely take my shoes and socks off.


The rain is pouring down at this early hour. I woke from a dream when Rob came to bed. I think it was around 4 a.m. He is trying to fight a cold, counting the days until he has three weeks off. He says he is too old for the film industry but then he admits that even the young on set are sick and tired of the ungodly hours. People think that working on a film with movie stars is exciting. They ask him questions. “Have you talked to Halle Berry?” “What is Jack Nicholson really like?” “Is it true Sharon Stone never wears underwear?” Rob is tolerant but he is not impressed by the stars. He likes some, dislikes others. When somebody is rigged with a radio mike, he sometimes hears private conversations but he never tells.

When he is working, we have little time to tell each other anything. Yesterday morning, for instance, we had around fifteen minutes together. I tried to remember all the things that I had to ask him. I had left out papers that he had to sign. I relayed a message from England.

This morning I will probably not see him at all. And tomorrow morning, I am heading out early to go to Keats Island for a French reunion – the women from Vancouver who did the workshop last summer are getting together for the first time to talk and feast – so I may not see him until Sunday.

When he is working, there is little time for a relationship. I miss him.

I miss Gill. And now that Mike is working all day, I miss him. When I’d come in and out of the big house on my way to my garden house, he’d be playing his guitar. The house is empty. And instead of dancing on tables and enjoying the silence, I’m finding myself at loose ends. I suppose one needs time to adjust to aloneness. I once read an essay by Susan Sontag who took a break from her family and went into the woods to do some creative work. She lay for three days doing nothing. She couldn’t stand the silence. And then she laughed at herself, got up, and began to work.

I’m hoping this will happen to me. But not today. Soon, I will go to work and change the window and do some displaying. At 11:30 I am meeting my sister Donna who is now Maggie at Serenity Cottage for a manicure and pedicure – a gift I gave her several years ago for her birthday that she enjoyed so much, we have tried to make it a tradition. (We missed last year as I was away.) After this frivolity, we will go to the Swiss Chalet for lunch. This is a bit of a family joke but we always enjoy the “family atmosphere.”

If there is time later in the day, I will do a little writing. Hopefully the spirit will move me.


I’m finding myself at a loss for words but, no matter how I try to avoid writing this journal, I can’t rest until I’ve added my daily spiel. If nothing else, I am consistent and conscientious. Or “stubborn” might be a better adjective.

Last night, I attended the last in the series of Jungian meetings at Marlene’s. Everyone brought a passage from The Pregnant Virgin that spoke to her. I’ll list a few:

“‘Where love reigns, there is no will to power,’ wrote Jung, ‘and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking.’ The opposite to love is not hate but power.”

“The chrysalis is essential if we are to find ourselves. Yet very little in our extroverted society supports inverted withdrawal. We are supposed to be doers… But the truth is I can’t do anything useful if there’s no I to do it. I can’t love anyone else, if there’s no I to do the loving….”

“The mature feminine will not tolerate the demands and projections of the patriarchy…. If, for the first time, a woman is experiencing her feminine ego well grounded in her own body, her husband may be delighted, surprised and shocked by her sexual abandonment. However, opening the body can open a crevice in the heart that becomes an abyss containing the pain of a lifetime….”

There were many more. Unfortunately, I did not mark each quote as it was being read. I listened…

Gill just dropped in for some food and booze for a birthday party for her friend tomorrow evening. As there wasn’t much in the house, I drove her down to the store and then back to her borrowed home for a week. She said that I have taught her to like change. She also said that I was too good. I said that if you love someone, you put yourself out for them.

This is something that my parents never did in any conscious way for me. But then again, their parents never did it for them – because they didn’t have the money or the time. My mother’s parents were farmers. My father’s father was a poor dentist. (They actually existed before National Health.) There were eight children in my father’s family, seven in my mothers. Children were loved as belongings but not as individuals. I wonder, in mid-life, what our children, will think of Rob and me.

The writing is just not happening today. I think I’ll go up to the big house, pour myself a glass of wine, and read. Last night, I started reading The Da Vinci Code – good reading for a quiet rainy night.


I’m in an anxious frame of mind. I suppose it could be because I had to see the dentist this morning. She reglued my bridge, told me only to eat soft foods out of the side of my mouth, and made an appointment for me to see a specialist who happens to be an Irishman and a UBC professor. This visit is termed “consultation” and I’m to bring a cheque for $160. I wonder how many hours he will give me for this kind of money.

Although my smile is still in tact, I’m grimacing.

After, I ran errands for the business and home. More money. But necessary and completing chores offers a little satisfaction.

I did spend some time this morning researching query letters and writing.

This evening I will attend my last Jungian meeting of this session. We’re to begin with readings – those who didn’t read last week and I’m one of them and I’m feeling bad as Marlene said she would like every one to read. I read over what I wrote and I simply can’t expose my miserable self. Ah well… I thought I would have time to answer another question where I feel on firmer ground but so far, I have not alit. After this, we will have a discussion group which I am looking forward to.

It would be so easy to push aside all the turmoil that Marion Woodman’s book stirs up but I think this a chicken’s way out and any woman who dances on tables is no chicken.

“You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.”

God, I love Rilke. I love all writers who give me a hint on how to approach this world.


I started the day at 9 a.m. I mean I actually left my bed at this time. All was quiet. Everyone had left. I mean Rob and Mike who starts a full time job today. Gill and one other friend are staying with a third. She tells me that they are going to have a “health week” – lots of good food and exercise.

I am not lazy. I drove Helen to the airport last night at 11 p.m. to catch a flight to Hong Kong and then on to Australia and arrived home near two.

I called my dentist friend as I have yet another tooth that is starting to throb. My mouth continues to be a problem. I wonder what that means in the whole scheme of things.

I also called my friend Susan who is at present residing in Scotland. She will leave for France around the 16th of December but then again she may leave the 18th. Some friends are coming for Christmas around this date and she figures if they get there first, the house will be warm. No feeble thinker this 76 year old friend of mine. She also said that her eldest son has impregnated his Japanese girlfriend who Susan quite likes. (David thinks her a shrew but then, he thinks Susan one, too.) Her son (almost fifty), she says, is happy now that he has made a commitment. She thinks commitments are an aid to happiness.

I think anywhere that we find pockets of happiness, we should dip in and savour.

Now I will play a little with writing and then head downtown to tap. (Maureen and I changed our day.)

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