Archive for the ‘Life of Carmen’ Category

Dreaming of a small world

Monday, November 7th, 2016

I dream of a world where people live small. It’s happening. It’s a meme.ben-chuns-friends-tiny-house

Small houses, small gardens, small vehicles, small pleasures. Small incomes. Small needs.

My path is to live and to model that life. Enrich my networks. Take care of what I have and get rid of what I don’t need. Place myself in situations of humility and of trust: monasteries, communities, neighbourhoods, islands. You can’t be small in isolation. Living small means asking for help, accepting it, giving it back.

My caution is to resist letting my needs mushroom mindlessly. The goal is to simply stay small.

 

The monkish (married?) life

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

buslife2I’m living the monk’s life in my green turtle bus, up on the bluff over the lagoon.

Wake up, chop wood and carry water, wash my panties in a pail and hang them to dry in the sun. Sit a bit, stretch a bit, watch the tides roll out and in. Out, and in. Soak some beans, then boil them slowly on the two-burner hotplate, seasoned with garden tomatoes, zucchini and herbs. Eat. Wash. Empty toilet bucket into pit. Sleep. Start again.

I wonder how my monk life will mesh with my married life … I wonder, but can’t know. The beauty is, we are grownups. We make up the rules.  It is my life, it is our life, it is art: all one grand experiment.

Carmen getting hitched

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

dc-collage-signed-smDig this: Carmen is getting married. Yes you heard that right: CARMEN is getting MARRIED.

I’ve been super skittish about outing myself on this because frankly, it is about the scariest thing i’ve ever done in my life (and i’ve done some pretty scary things).

What is most scary about it I realize – what is actually flipping my stomach over and keeping me awake nights – is not that i don’t want to do it, or that i think it is a bad idea. I’m into it. What is scaring the living shit out of me is that getting married totally messes with the carefully constructed edifice of identity that i have spent 53 years building up. I swore I would never do this, and ha ha, the gods laughed. (The gods on their mountain snicker into their sleeves when they hear the words ‘never’ and ‘forever’.) (more…)

A little pink notebook

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am having an identity crisis in the fancy-ass stationery store on Granville Island. A little pink notebook is messing with my head.

You see, I am the Kind of Person who carries a notebook all the time. It is the repository and record of my life, from to-do lists to major epiphanies. I get twitchy when I don’t have a notebook (and working pen) within reach. It is what people see when they see me. The notebook is me, it defines who I am. I am the Kind of Person whose notebook is black—serious, beat-poet, anarchist black. (more…)

Tree: 1 Island: 0

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

treeShe did not go gentle into that good night, oh no. A windstorm took her head off and her body soon followed. When she fell this 700-yr-old grandmother fir shook the ground, swiping the power lines and taking the island down with her.

We were 30 hrs without power, the silenced grid a soft blanket. A generator chugged here and there, a whiff of gasoline dissipating in still air. Bertha’s General Store quiet and dim but the till still open, popsicles and beer kept cold by the genny growling out back. But away from the puffing engines, so quiet, and at night the darkness so rich. (more…)

Just for the…

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Gilean Todd was moored over at the landing, said to have rockfish, halibut, and cod. Spattering rain, gale warning in effect. But the tide had just turned so I put on my all-purpose bike gear, hauled out the blue kayak (like a split milk-jug), and set out for the wharf. With one boot full of seawater and the wind at my back.

I pulled up alongside and shouted up to the boat: Hey—you got fish?! Yup. Halibut. But only whole fish, said Silas, hoisting a glossy 14-pounder. Both eyes on one side, shiny as live. Just yesterday swimming off Comox.

I paddled round the wharf and dragged the kayak up the beach. (more…)

And this is why i quit my job

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

CBHsUmZUQAEO5lS.jpg_largeNo hard feelings Hollyhock. Its been a nice cozy winter, sitting in my corner office overlooking the ocean, three days a week, tap-tapping away on my (thank god) Mac with the nice big monitor, grooving with the marketing team. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. But that’s enough—I’m too old for this nonsense.

This nonsense being, the act of sitting in front of a computer for 8 hrs a day (well ok less than that, with lunch and plenty of stretch breaks), investing my heart and soul into something which isn’t my passion. Don’t get me wrong—I totally respect Hollyhock and the good people that make it tick. If I didn’t, I couldn’t work there for even five minutes, in any capacity. I respect, and I support. But I am 50 years old and I’ve only got so much juice in me. Life is too short to atrophy my body, or to pour out my soul, for something that isn’t the very reason why I am alive on this earth. (more…)

Little lemon tree

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe little lemon tree is crying again. Infested with scale, it weeps sticky tears.

On homecoming to Vancouver I find the little tree in sorry state. Once again I apologize for my absence and neglect, and set to tending her. I borrow pruning shears from my neighbour, kneel before the little tree, and amputate the most crusted branches, knowing new ones will sprout at the stumps. Then I set to work with rag and dish soap, gently cleaning  each leaf and stem. It takes a couple of hours but when I am done she stands shiny and straight.  I scratch a glossy leaf with my nail and the clean tang of citrus fills my nose.

Pablo planted this tree from a seed oh so many years ago. He gave it to me when he went away. When I clean the the little lemon tree I think of beautiful Pablo and his sticky tears.


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