Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Falling Leaves

There’s magic in the air today
Went for a walk
To catch messages
Sent my way

Yellow ochre leaves
Flutter around me

In front
A stocky, old, Asian man
The Yin Yang Gang
Emblazoned on his back
Bow legged
Pulling a collapsible shopping cart
Steps off the curb
Kicks something
Steps up and back down again
Kicks once more
A ball bouncing across the road
Lightens his load

Behind
A voice in the distance
Coming nearer and louder
A slim cyclist
On a grey, green serviceable bike
Bag draped over
Handle bar
His song unselfconscious
Words unintelligible
Singing to his i-pod?
No matter to him or to me
This is what it is to be free

Across
The street
Woman, middle-aged, running
Her left leg engulfed
In a black leg brace
Shock waves
Through her body
Her head
Angled to the right
Pain
Releasing pain
She withdraws from
To within
What makes her run?
Day after day
Carrying within her
That which she can not escape

Towards me
At that same moment
Another runner
Glides effortlessly
Smiles
Momentary waves
Hi
In a flash
He’s passed us by

Before me
In the distance
At first sight
A couple clutched together
Become
A young, black man
Providing support
For his tall, slim, dapper
Elderly
Blind friend
Ease, gentleness, patience, trust
Wash over me
A bending blade of grass
Wrapped up in conversation
I am invisible as they pass.

I took my father’s
Writing pad today
If he was baring it
He’d stop each one
And say,
“Tell me sir or madam
Where are you from?
Tell me your name
Tell me your story
Who are you?"

For days I wondered

Does the oak mourn its

falling

leaves?

(copyright Nance Thacker '09)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the wonders of childhood


(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1984/2009)
click on image to enlarge - still can't figure out how to get this bigger - anyone?

I was a weird child.

When did I realize this … I remember a bright sunny day, before I could speak, soaking in the sun and suddenly I arrived. What does this mean? Well it means that I suddenly became aware that “I” am here in this body like – boom – "ta da, I’m here!" And, in that very same instant was the realization that if I had arrived then at some point I would cease to be and that if at some point I could cease to be then where the heck was I when I wasn’t here. Weird.

I remember watching silent movies on the T.V. and being fascinated by the speedy, jerky movements of the people I saw in them. “Wow” I thought to myself “we really walk so much better nowadays!” Weird.

Mom and Dad used to watch THE UNTOUCHABLES a series that, frankly really scared me all those mafia gangsters driving about in their big black cars shooting down people and all. No wonder they did, life must have been awful when it was in black and white; it’s so much nicer now that we live in colour. Weird.

I have a chronic neck problem. I blame it on prayer.

This one:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray my Lord my soul to take

If I should die!? I’m only a kid for Pete’s sake, old people die in their sleep don’t they, not kids. But if we’re praying to God then I guess it could happen. But how?

The only logical conclusion I could come up with was that someone would stab me in my sleep.

Ah ha! I’ll fool them I thought. I’ll sleep on my stomach. Since the heart is more on the left then when I get stabbed (because it is dark the stabber won’t realize that I’m on my stomach) they’ll probably hit a lung; a lung, not bad since I have 2. Unfortunately you can't sleep on your face so you have to turn your head to one direction. My head turns to the left (keeping an eye on my heart probably); to the right ummm, not so good.

I didn’t read typical, contemporary kids books as a child. I liked factual books on animals and the body. Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the like were the closest I got – the scarier and weirder the better. Oooo, how cool is this I have found this fantastic site with a bazillion of them. Gotta go, got a lot of reading to do.

I’m still a weird kid.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Domino Effect




I can see why people get stuck on clearing their clutter – it’s the dreaded domino effect that makes the task seem so daunting.

Take the treatment area of my basement for example. I want a clutter free, relaxing, peaceful atmosphere. Forget the cold, clinical feel that says, “after all I am a professional”. And, please don’t get me started on the woo woo angels, gauzy bits and pretty shiny things that adorn new agey type practices. Though I find it whimsically charming I am neither whimsical nor charming.

But, specifically what do I want my space to look like? I don’t really know. But I am taking it one step at a time which means that everything that gets omitted from my space is getting me closer to my goal. As items clear out it’s like having a blank canvas on which to envision the room of my dreams more clearly.

So far I’ve sold one chair to a client; donated towels and linens to Amity; taken old lamps no longer necessary now that I have pot lights (with dimmers I might add), bolsters, an iron, cork bulletin board and display holders, for starters, to the nearby Goodwill.

But some things loaded in the car bound for Goodwill never got unloaded and somehow I’m still driving around with a single-sized, blow up mattress with electric pump, which I have never used but that I though were an absolute necessity when I purchased them at a cranial sacral workshop about 10 years ago. It somehow escaped me during a fit of seminar inspired, consumer frenzy that I already had a massage table that would fit the bill just fine.

I drove over to a friend’s place seeking to unload this treasure for free. “It’s perfect for when your grandkids come to visit” was the spiel I used as I tried to appeal to her grandmotherly instincts. But no deal; ever prepared she makes boy scouts look like slackers. The queen of every contingency already has 2…queen sized no less.

My juggling clubs are clattering about underneath my driver’s seat. Though I’m somewhat proficient in juggling with 3 balls, I never could master the clubs and I think it’s sad that they haven’t really flown through the air in some 20 odd years nor have they adorned my wall in that funky decorative collage that exists only in my head. Goodwill won’t take them, “the kids will be running around bonking each other on the head with them” I was told.

And, I’ve realized that there’s nothing more pathetic than lugging your worldly possessions in a monstrous piece of luggage bigger than yourself down cobblestone streets, through the tube and onto and off of trains during the argument that inevitably happens between you and your traveling companion/husband during a 3 week trip abroad. It’s far more empowering to be able to throw one’s belongings on one’s back and stride off in a dignified manner which means that: a) a smaller combo back-pack-roller is essential and b) one needs to pare down drastically what one packs in future. But I hesitated when it came to parting with the roller luggage that I hauled around England and Paris; no, not for sentimental reasons but (although I don’t know how to go about it) I should be able to get something for it. It now takes up the entire back seat.

Mom’s lightly used camel coat hangs alongside Rod’s never used leather bomber jacket blocking my right rear window – both rejected by the upscale used clothing store in Oakville.

“The sleeves have been shortened and show signs of wear” the clerk tells me. The first observation’s true but surely there are other short women in this town and for the life of me as I inspect the cuffs I’m saying to myself “I don’t see any holes.” With mild disgust (she can read my mind) she adds to clarify “there is thinning of the fabric”. Nope, I still can’t see that.

“What about the leather jacket. It’s never been worn and is in perfect shape.”

“We don’t handle men’s apparel. Men don’t shop.”

“O.K. well, but women could wear this bomber style.”

She smiles weakly and nods “no, I don’t think so. Try the Nearly New Shop on Kerr Street. You might get something for it there.”

I find out that the most expensive item in the Nearly New is $10. Ouch, I don’t think so! Items “worth” a few hundred dollars each are reduced to $0. And this explains their setting up home in ALF W (my car).

I know you’re thinking, “She had all this stuff in her treatment room?”

Well no, but they needed to be moved out of the laundry/storage room so that the Thacker family archives can be put into the trunk (which needs to be cleared of my old junk some of which will be thrown out while the rest gets stored upstairs) and stored in their place, so my massage table can be stored where the trunk is now and the files that rest on top of the trunk in crates can be sorted into the new filing cabinet which needs to go under the stairs in the place that the archives now occupy so that…

See, the never ending, ever dreaded domino effect; noble opponent of declutterers everywhere; the Goliath to my David.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

movin' on up


Rod and I are moving into phase II of the basement renovations – yea!

We thankfully got to the stage where I could move my treatments back downstairs thus reclaiming our living room space - yea!

But here’s the thing, in order for the reno to be done everything from the basement had to be temporarily stored in the laundry room. And it’s been driving me bonkers; bonkers I tell ya! I can’t stand it!

I can’t stand it that: visually it insults my senses to see mounds of things
piled up taking up every inch of floor space and more – can not compute, can not compute, can not compute – I get overwhelmed.

I can’t stand it that: although I packed and organized for easy access, all the treatment supplies I would need til the job is done, in a logical order, when I go to look for them it seems that the deductive reasoning part of my brain that took charge of the operation has vacated the premises so the rummaging begins further compounding the problem.

I can’t stand it that: In order to do my laundry I have to: move a bazillion boxes on top of other boxes which were so crammed full that they can’t be closed so that everything ends up perched at precarious angles and just the wrong move: the shifting of a piece of paper, lifting of a pencil or a sneeze will set the wheels in motion for a domino-like kinesthetic event worthy of a Rube Goldberg machine.

I can’t stand it that: I hate bumping into things and even worse having things: run over my toes (my bike), come crashing towards my head (a shelf the size of a two by four) or hit my funny bone (my rebounder) all in a clumsy dance-like succession of steps. I become jumpy, irritable and tense.

I can’t stand it that: I get claustrophobic in tight spaces which makes me want to push things away from me physically, which happened to be the strongest PMS symptom for me (that is before I became post menopausal, a big yea!). Though some people would argue that it was my irritability, my mantra back then was “don’t touch me”, “get outta my way”, “Aaarrrrgh” or @#$%@$% in response to anyone coming near or placing objects beside me. So, if you think I’m bad now you shudda seen me then.

I can’t stand it that: I move quickly through crammed spaces til a clearing can be found roaring in frustration all the while (since I’m not a screaming kind of gal). So staying in the laundry room long enough to get anything done builds up propulsive tension in my body until I can’t breathe and my coiled muscles explode launching me out of the room with such a force as to scatter the cats (who are far more stressed that I) to the far reaches of the house.

After a few days of enduring this existence I began to wonder, “How do hoarders do it?” This is only one small room in an otherwise orderly home. How can they live in such chaos?

So I watched Hoarders one night.

OMG, seeing houses crammed with mountains of rotting stuff and witnessing the emotion driving the compulsion made me unbelievably anxious. So much so that it spurred me on to get back in there and get down to business. Since I’m in the process of redefining my practice and I’m still committed to clutter clearing 30 minutes a day, (how it all began) this is just what I needed to kick start me as I’d gotten stuck on clearing, responding to and organizing e-mails on a daily basis. Time to get down to the real nitty-gritty!

And I have been relentless. My motivating, “keep on track” question is, “how do I visualize my practice?” I imagine the space as I want it to be: peaceful, healing, spacious and uplifting. All non-essentials, items and info that no longer reflect who I am right now and where I’m headed; old baggage/history - no matter how fond the memories they induce, they are going. I don’t need them crowding up space anymore not only in my basement but also in my brain.

So, as I bid these things and outdated concepts adieu I say “thanks for the memories”; it’s time to move on.
____________________________________________________________________

Update:

COINKYDINK:
As you may recall I got obsessed with the word coinkydinky and decided to play the synchronicity game. I was to track any hints of the uttering of such word or connections to it for a week. The deadline for it to be considered a synchronicity or coincidence has come and gone – it was Oct. 23rd. Results no hits, yet other synchronicities continue to delight me.
NOTE: image by Richard X. Thripp

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

African thunderstorm

Hi All,

Stumbled out of bed Monday morning at the crack of 10 with sleep still in my eyes, turned on the computer, scanned my e-mails and played this video that a friend had sent to me...

African thunderstorm

Shared via AddThis

Wow! Play it now, if you haven't yet. I'll wait...
...
...
...

It's magical, fun and uplifting; isn't it?

It really set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

As I mentioned in the last post. I can't sing to save my life but it reminded me that although I can't reproduce a melodic tone I sure can appreciate one. My ear has perfect pitch it's my vocal cords that are demented.

My body can't sit still once the music plays - actually that's a fact that I discovered years ago...

Life drawing class for animators at Sheridan College gave our instructor, Suzanna Wald, the opportunity to expose her students to the finest in music and culture. Classical music often drifted in the background, intended to free our spirits so that our artistic genius could emerge.

Unfortunately for her, many a classical masterpiece has been forever wired into every animator's mind (including mine) with images of Bugs Bunny, dancing hippos or some Warner Brothers lunacy which would set her class into fits of giggling or smirks. Having come to Canada later in her life she did not share the same childhood cultural reference and it took her aback.

So one day, when I was modelling for her class, she decided to change things up, play something we would have no reference to so she put on the Gipsy Kings. Suzanna had spent much of her teen and early adulthood in Argentina and had a passion for all things Latin. So much so that I thought she was Spanish but in fact she was born in Belgium. (In fact I found out a few months ago that she was the author for Spanish for Dummies - I kid you not. I was perusing the book in the ongoing effort to find the best resources with which to teach myself Spanish and lo and behold there it was, her name in black and white.) Anyway, the Gipsy Kings, whom I love, but the frikin' Gipsy Kings!?

Gimme a break!

It was nothing short of torture for my kinesthetically dominant self to endure the hours of heart rending, foot stomping, imagery inducing, passionate music of pure ALIVENESS. Music's vibrations dance within every molecule of my being. Every muscle in my body was cramping up under the strain of trying to remain perfectly still. During the breaks I'd have to run around, shake my limbs, jump up and down to releive the tension. If I remember rightly, I threatened her with severe bodily harm in the future if she ever played anything more stimulating than a waltz.

This video also made me realize why I became a cheerleader in highschool. I know this sounds unrelated but it's really not. Sure there was all the "Yea Bob. Yea Smith. Yea yea Bob Smith" stuff, the running around with pom poms, getting the crowd stirred up to a frenzy but I became a cheerleader because this was the closest I'd ever get to singing and dancing.

It's paradoxical really. I was painfully shy and couldn't bring myself to mingle with the crowd at the end of the game - instead I made a bee line straight for the change room. For a kid that spent most of her time alone drawing, working out, lifting weights, doing yoga (before it was cool) cheering made me seem "normal", gave me the chance to be somebody else and was an incredible outlet for vibrant expression.

The "silent" cheer came into vogue when I was cheering. It was simply the use of snapping fingers, clapping of hands, stomping of feet in rythmic patterns while moving into and out of formations - interspersed with jumps here and there - with the voice used minimally to maximum effect. We spent hours working out those patterns of percussion and perfecting the synchronicity of our movements. And, when we went on centre court to debut these "cheers" we were more than cheerleaders - our bodies sang and became music itself!

So, as I watched African thunderstorm, the stunningly creative, simple beauty of the singers as they used their bodies and voices to create sound and invoke image - my heart sang.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

coincidence number 4

Sunday Sept. 6th
While conversing, wine in hand, with others in my friend’s torch-lit backyard I am suddenly captivated by the realization that this is the most beautiful summer evening of the season; a fantastic night for a party. The air is calm and fresh and a multitude of stars twinkle and glimmer in a clear sky.

Situated within a virtual forest just up from 12 mile creek, it feels like we are a million miles away from suburbia yet we are a mere 10 minute drive from downtown Oakville.

Christmas lights strewn from tree to tree decorate and define the stage where GCDC (a band of 4 young musicians) are wailing out their own brand of jug band music (I especially enjoyed their rendition of Eleanor Rigby). The audience, some seated, some standing, cluster in small groups through out the yard and patio. Other partiers wander from group to group for a chat and a laugh.

On this night the Moonshine café closed up shop and relocated to their friends Lucy and Terry’s place for this private party and end of the summer celebration – school starts tomorrow heralding new beginnings for us all.

Kicking back and taking in the scene, the scents and the sounds of this festive evening this comment filters through during a musical interlude while the stage is being set and instruments are getting tuned, “Yah, the Moonshine’s really musician friendly; people come to hear the music and the performers encourage and learn from each other.”

Shortly afterwards a rousing jam session begins.

Though I sing flat and off-key and can’t hold a tune, I love music of all kinds. In fact I sing at every opportunity, most especially when I’m crusin’ down the road in my trusty Ford Escort Alf W- provided I am alone. I envy those who can get up and belt out a tune with abandon and the camaraderie that exists between musicians. I love to hear them talk about music in passionate, expressive sentences punctuated by sounds, riffs and body language when words just won’t do.

I come to hear the music.

It is 4 days later and I am in Burlington attending to some business which brings me within a block of my friend Rozanna’s holistic health clinic. I actually have been thinking of her for a few days now and though pressed for time I feel compelled to drop in. The door is open and I tap lightly. She is on the phone and waves me in. I take a seat and as I wait a man enters the room.

He is a singer-songwriter, friend re-entering the music field after some time working in another profession who has just dropped by to play his just released CD for her. In answer to a question I ask he says, “I’d like to play but I don’t want to do the bar scene again. I want to play in a place where people come to hear the music.”

Upon hearing this I have to tell him about the Moonshine Café in Oakville and (another musician friendly place) CJ’s in Bronte.

Will he follow it up? I don’t know. All I know is that for whatever reason this coincidence occurred and feeling as if I was meant to deliver the message I did so, acting as a connector as Malcolm Gladwell would put it.

Or, maybe the real coincidence is that I was meant to walk into her office and get a free CD, which I did. Maybe I really came to hear the music.
__________________________________________________________
Follow the whole string of synchronicities that happened over a two day period beginning with the post of Sept. 11th - synchroni-CITY up to the present post.

Coinkydink report (see previous post)– no hits of yet.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The game is on

O.K. the last post full of lies it wasn’t coincidence #3, but #4 that I was about to write before I got interrupted. And, obviously “I just have enough time to enter this sentence” was total bull because well I wrote more than that sentence didn’t I?

Now to the truth; I was trying to take advantage of the fact that my client was late and sneak in the post to get the word coinkydink out of my mind and then go on to write about coincidence #4 before she got here and of course she rang my doorbell as I was in the middle of the second paragraph.

But before I get to the real synchronicity; that would be coincidence #4…

This weird fixation on a word has prompted me to play the synchronicity game because coinkydink is a word that I haven’t heard or read in years. I can’t even remember when that was though it sounds like something Jim Carey would have said a film like Ace Ventura Pet Detective.

So, what would constitute a real coincidental experience?

GROUND RULES
#1.
Hearing someone say coinkydink: either in conversation with me or in a crowd (and no one has read the posts referencing coinkykink – this will not be difficult. Is anyone out there?), on T.V. or in the movies (I can’t now go out and rent Ace Ventura; however if I stumbled upon Ace Ventura and heard the word that would be a coincidence).
#2. Seeing the word coinkydink in print.
#3. Someone while reading the posts referencing coinkydink has a significant memory from the past stirred up where this word has been used in a meaningful way that has relevance for the reader i.e. my late great uncle Ferdinand used the word all the time I take it as a signal that he’s O.K. in the afterlife. No I don’t have an uncle Ferdinand I’m just using it as an example. What the hell do I know from messages from the dearly departed? I’m no John Edwards.
#4. Someone reading this post has, within the last few days, previously heard or seen the word.
#5. It needs to be a totally random, spontaneous occurrence.
#6. It needs to occur within one week, so by Sept. 23rd.

I will keep you posted on this.

And, if any of the above occur what does it mean? Probably nothing but it depends on what the person experiencing the coincidence makes of it – see ground rule #3 for an example. If you are a person for whom coinkydink is significant as per #3 or #4 let me know - enter a comment below.

So, let the game begin!

P.S. I will write about the 4th and last coincidence which occurred on the dates of Sept 10 - 11 in the next post. I promise.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Co inky dink #3

I just have enough time to enter in this sentence.

I will be blogging about the 3rd coincidence. My next client is late - unusual for her.
This word coinkydink (goofy neologistic synonym for coincidence) keeps repeating over and over in my mind. So, what the hell will write it here so that it goes away.

Here she is gotta go.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sync #2 & #3

These 2 coincidences occurred on the same day as previous post, hence sync #2 & #3.

For the past few months every time my sister Candy and I would meet for chai she would ask me if I’d seen the Ricky Gervais DVD - Ricky Gervais: Out Of England: The Stand-Up Special.

“Oh, you’ve got to see it. It’s hysterical!” and she’d laugh and slap her thigh as she thought about it. She’d try to recount one or two bits but would give up and say, “You’ve just got to see it. You have to get it. It’s sooo hysterical.”

Despite her glowing review, I hadn’t taken the time to rent it until last Wed. night. And she was right, his thought processes are way out there (which I love), his timing is classic Warner Brother’s cartoon style and his stand-up persona is so well fleshed out and natural that his delivery is conversational (a big plus in my book) – I really liked him even when he’s saying the most idiotic things. Laughed - my - ass - off - the - whole - time - funny!!!

He really made me appreciate the art of stand-up once again.

Later that night I play a message that’s come in on my answering machine while I was watching the DVD. Someone called about hypnosis for performance anxiety. The client - a stand-up comedian! A STAND-UP COMEDIAN I tell you, no word of a lie. Cross my heart.

The next day my client *Tim (a sweet, mentally challenged, young man who’s been seeing me for Shiatsu for a few years now) arrives sporting new glasses. I can’t help but notice them as they are very snazzy and stylish and I compliment him on them.

“Nancy, see” he points down to the floor at his shoes.

“Oh, wow new shoes too!” I echo his excitement and he grins back with pride at my approval. They are scuffmark-free, sage green, with the backs intact, for the time being; I say that because Tim has a habit of slipping in and out of his shoes without undoing the laces.

As soon as he lays on his back on the futon he asks, “What do you think of my shirt?”

It is deep red and it too is new.

“It’s very nice. Red is a good colour for you.”

“Thanks” he says. His eyes squish up and he grins from ear to ear as he smiles and giggles with delight.

Periodically he repeats, “Nancy, look at my shirt.”

“Yes, yes Tim it’s very nice” I reply.

Over and over these phrases repeat, like a chorus punctuating our conversation. But it is as if he knows I haven’t really been looking at it because each time he’s a little more insistent. “Nancy, look at my shirt…Nancy, look at my shirt.”

And each time I reply “yes Tim it’s very nice”

When he turns over onto his stomach, I straighten out his T-shirt so that I can get a better idea of his alignment. This forces me to really look at the shirt and there it is… GERVAIS Motorsports with 2 black and white checkered flags (crossed like the letter X), the number 6 appears on the left one, 12 on the right.

Do, do, do, do. Do, do, do, do…

You can’t make this up. Who’d believe it?

*(Tim - not his real name)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

synchroni-CITY!

(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker '90)
Click on image to enlarge.

Wow, I’m being inundated by synchronicities!!!
Caught 4 over the last 2 days

NUMBER 1:
I’m thinking about whether to post this cartoon that I did a numbed of years ago.
Nah.
But then I realized that there was is a story about the inspiration for the cartoon. I could write about that?
Nah, I thought.
But then doesn’t a similar event happen to me – so you're getting it.

Here’s the background story.
About 19 years ago my friend Pat, who was 76 years old at the time, told me, over a glass of sherry, that she’d laid down on the floor in her sun room the other day to relax.
“It feels so good to lie down on the carpet and soak in the sun” she explained.
After some time had passed there was a loud, authoritative banging on her front door. “Who could that be at this time of day? I wondered as I wasn’t expecting any visitors.”
It took her some time to get up off the floor and make her way to the door – the pounding continuing all the while.
“And there’s a young policeman in full uniform standing there and a cruiser in front of my house. Is there anything wrong officer? I ask.”
“Ummm, well no apparently not,” he says somewhat sheepishly, looking about for a rock to crawl under. “I…ah…there was a call…someone...ah…was walking past your house and saw you on the floor, not moving and she, ah made a call. And, he looked at me to fill in the details.”
“Ahh and she thought…” they both nodded as she talked and then said simultaneously.
“I was (you were) dead.”
They stood in uncomfortable silence.
“…Yes, maam she did.”

And, the present day synchronicity:
As you know, Rod and I are renovating the basement. I spent the hottest 2. No, let me correct that. I spent the sunniest, hottest, most stinkin’ly humid 2 summer days of this summer cutting, fitting and installing insulation into the ceiling wearing protective gear that just about made me faint from the heat exhaustion and moisture loss (made me sweat like a pig).
Hiking boots served as construction boots. Socks, torn up blue jeans, T-shirt and sweatshirt were co-ordinated with the ever so sheik:
- Face mask – to keep from inhaling chunks of debris. It makes me inhale my own breath (that’s just so not right and icky) and leaves deep crevices in my cheeks for days; so bad that my friend Sue at Windsor Medical would have vehemently denied that I was one of her photo facial clients. I was thinking of going in and saying hi and seeing if she’d notice anything, but thought that would be cruel.
- Goggles - that fog up from said foul breath leaking out of the face mask, making me virtually blind, when they’re not falling off my nose due to sweat streaming down my face.
- Ear protectors - because last time I worked construction I had tinnitus for 2 months, which was crazy making.
- Bandanna - to keep the volcanic dust from the bits of insulation that fall on my hair down to a minimum.
- Gloves - so that my next Shiatsu clients don’t feel like they’re getting a micro peel.
I totally understand why people don’t wear protective gear. You’re sweaty hot, can’t see, hear, or feel anything. And you’re clumsy to boot; at least I was.
The point is that we did such a fantastic job with the insulation and the ceiling that the place is really, really soundproof. Yesterday as I was waiting for my regular lomi client I lost track of the time writing up treatment reports. It finally dawned on me that time was ticking away and when I checked my watch it was 10 minutes after the hour. My client was 10 minutes late; totally unlike him.
I went upstairs and looked out the door just in time to see him anxiously coming round the hedge.
“Are you alright?” he asked with a worried look on his face as he rushed to the door.
“Uh, huh,” Alright but feeling confused by his concern.
“I’ve been here 10 minutes. I rang 4 times. I got worried about you. The wood door was open and I got no response so I walked around the back to see if maybe something had happened to you. You’re not getting any younger you know.”
Whoa!
YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER!
Ow, and this coming from a 75 year old!
The implications in that statement just freak me out and stop me in my tracks because immediately Pat’s story flashes into my mind, but it was me he was concerned about! Me!
Sure, sure we’re all getting older, everyone gets older; everyone but me that is.

NUMBER 2, 3 and 4 to come…

Meanwhile to check out more recent synchronicities click here, here and here.
And for the full gamut click on synchronicities in “Labels” to the right

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brainfarts

I am experiencing unexplainable, unbridled optimism.
This is making me very anxious.
__________________________________________________

It’s Not About the Pencil

Having coffee with my sister today
Our elderly mother’s having problems with speech,
She asked for a pencil just yesterday.
Candy found a pencil and paper within reach
She’ll communicate some other way?

Candy sits very still
Mom looks at
the blank sheet,
the pen – cil
then
down to her feet.

Candy thinks
Mom forgot
she had something to say.
Me?
I think
she’s planning to pull a MacGyver someday.

Copyright Nance Thacker 2009.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Love is like a Rose

Sometimes cartoons just write themselves.

This one came about from being in character of Dealin’ Dan the Tour Man. Doodling him. Thinking about people; watching people; writing; him writing to his girlfriend – a love note. He sees another woman pass by and immediately she becomes the object of his affection.

All of this came out being in his character – aggressive, intense and fickle as the shifting sands. What you see is what you get without apology. Painfully honest, tactless and oblivious of his affect on others. Loves the “idea” of women and the idea of being in love with them though hasn’t a clue what they’re really about. He was so much fun to work with!

I ran a lot when I lived in Victoria (pretty much covered the whole city either on foot or on my trusty 5 speed bike) and one of my favourite routes would take me past the Empress Hotel and the tour buses. I’d often stop and watch the tour guides luring in the tourists and making their pitches for the double decker bus tour of the city. I thought the whole scene was kind of cheesy and Dealin’ Dan was a composite of these guys.

The decaying rose at the corner of each box just “appeared” reflecting my cynicism about love at the time and giving the cartoon an edge and deeper dimension words couldn’t express. It was spontaneously inspired after a visit with Sid Barron.

Sid Barron was a childhood idol of mine. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the Barron cartoon in the Star. Mom would pass it over to me and I’d sit with it spread out on the floor to find Puddytat, the biplane towing one banner or the other or the phrase “warm isn’t it?”

I was at a yoga group party when the conversation turned to my cartoons. The yoga group was always very supportive of my work which appeared regularly in the Yoga Centre of Victoria Newsletter. Somehow I got talking about Barron’s cartoons and in the middle of the conversation I heard the words, “I know Sid.”

I couldn’t believe my ears one of my yoga mentor’s best friends knew Sid Barron! How on earth would she know Sid Barron? If I recall correctly, I think she went to school with him in Victoria. In any case she assured me that she could introduce me to “old Sid”. And sure enough she did.

We met on a few occasions in the mid-80’s. At that time he cartooned standing up, in a closet-like space which was crammed with cartoons, art boards, pens and other cartooning paraphernalia. I felt a kinship as I too had an unorthodox approach, cartooning sitting cross-legged on the floor using a portable drawing board that my brother had made for me.

He talked about his process of coming up with cartoons. One time he found himself doodling, drawing chairs from every possible angle – that provided the basis of a cartoon. When he found he had a difficulty drawing cars to his satisfaction he put more in to challenge himself. His irritation at clothes hangers inspired another piece. (Every time I struggle with clothes hangers I too get irritated but it reminds me of him and the irritation disappears.)

I always loved the many tid bits of humour hidden away in the bigger picture. So, when you’re reading a Barron from this link I hope you take time to find Puddytat, the plane, and/or “warm isn’t it?” as you scan for the intricacies in each cartoon. I hope you too appreciate his gentle humour and sense of style as I do.

Sid was a truly funny, quirky, gentle man, who was amazed and genuinely flattered that the National Archives (now Library and Archives Canada) were in the process of gathering together a collection of his originals. What a delightful gift it was to have met him.
*cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1985

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

JADED!

One of the many things I love about dreamwork is that you don’t have to get the message right away. If you let it sit with you, your dreams, coincidences, or your life will offer up the connection that delivers insight. Such is the case with the 3rd coincidence JADED that I wrote about yesterday.

What was behind the need to write about and explore this coincidence?

Why now?

Every year at about this time a feeling of insidious melancholy creeps up on me. The chill in the air, the shortening of days and the morning dew that appears on the blades of grass bring with them a feeling of longing that grows deep and dark, penetrating my very core. And, true to form this year is no exception.

When I look at my life there is nothing to be worn and weary about, but its tone is contained within nature’s changing seasons. Am I too not a product of nature? Water stirs in my bones, tissues, and cells; the moon and the tides are evidence of its capacity for plasticity. What makes me expect that I should be consistent; remain unaffected?

In last night’s dream I am returning to school. Moving to a higher level; excitement coupled with loss.

Leaving loved ones and dreams behind – some by choice, others have chosen to leave me. Relationships change, “We only have so much energy to expend. One must choose to bring relationships into right relation.” says a friend living the immediacy of the battle between life and death that cancer brings.

FALL – I fall back in time. A time of harvest, of good byes, celebration, appreciation, regrets, gratitude. It is a time for laying the fields to rest. Paths taken at the expense of others; words spoken, those left unuttered; choices made consciously or by omission revisit my soul in this the season of the days of reckoning.

I am being tugged away from the vibrancy and the distractions of summer before I am ready to embrace the journey towards winter’s dormancy. Though I know it is inevitable it is ever so! Resisting the cycle I cling to stories of past choices and futures lost which play over and over, intensifying, torturing and entangling me in their web.

…If this I choose.

The recollection of and the need to write about the coincidence of JADED was perhaps meant to do nothing more than lift my spirits or maybe it is the way to something more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FRESH!

“We need to take dreams more literally, and the events of waking life more symbolically”
- Robert Moss
the THREE "ONLY" THINGS
- tapping the power of dreams, coincidence & imagination
(note: click on the link then Books Media and then on the book itself for more info)

This is a quote from the book that I’m reading at the moment. I love this stuff!
I really love to play with what is commonly called synchronicity or more accurately coincidence; I look for these happenings every day and today caught 3.

First one:
Rod and I are renovating. We have been sanding the walls all morning and Rod discovers that we need a specific type of primer paint to allow us to paint acrylic paint over the oil paint we have on one wall. I, being the gopher as well as demo-woman, have to go to the paint store. “But before you go, check yourself in the mirror”, he advises.

I have to laugh as my hair and face are covered with white dust reminding me of native cultures who cover their faces with ash during various ceremonies.

On the drive back from the store as I wonder in what direction my particular dubious skills will take me in the future, in the distance I see a man in his early 30’s. At first glance his face looks like it’s painted like a lion. But that can’t be I think to myself and then I question, “why not?” Upon closer inspection he looks a little wild and crazy as he has thick white cream of sorts smeared irregularly over his face.

Second incident:
Rod and I take a break from our painting. On page 2 of today’s SUN newspaper is this headline “Documents suggest former Rolling Stone Brian Jones was murdered”.

On our drive home from our holiday on Sat I had my ipod on shuffle and up came a Stones’ song, which for some reason, lead me to comment that there was another Stone at one time but he was found dead in his swimming pool.

Now, I’ve listened to the Stones many times without ever thinking about that particular piece of trivia.

Third one:
Thinking about what to write next in the blog I consider writing about one particular coincidence (before either of these two events had occurred) but discount it. Then just a few hours ago as I’m reading Moss’s book, these words on page 183 “And you’re not too old or jaded to develop a fresh (italics his) connection” jump out at me. Though this is referring to the use of images of superheroes or cartoon characters in boosting the immune system’s abilities to fight off disease, the word of interest is jaded.

Here’s why.

I was going to write about a delightful, synchronic event that happened a few years back.
Melissa, my friend Sue’s daughter had a song that was just starting to get some air play on the radio. It seemed every time we talked her song had just been played, but I’d always missed it and was disappointed. Then, one day while driving, I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me – JADED. No sooner did I begin to laugh when lo and behold Melissa’s voice came over the radio singing her (then) latest release called - JADED. I got so excited and delighted by this coincidence that I had to then and there call Sue (who also works with dreams as well) to tell her just what was happening.

I got her answering machine and left a hysterical message beginning with, “you’ll never guess what is happening at this very moment…” with the music blaring audibly in the background.

All the while I figure I have to pass this guy and get his attention regarding this magical (to me anyway) event. I speed up, roll my windows down as I do so, crank the volume up even more, and as I pass, wave to the guy to get his attention and then point to the radio and to his license plate.

Well, I don’t know if he "got it" or whether all he saw was just this wild, crazy woman flailing about in her car but I do know that in that moment I was not jaded but in fact was quite the opposite!

So what does all of this mean?

I don’t know if it means anything.

But, it just makes life magical! And, that for some reason I needed to blog about this today.

I just checked the thesaurus, for antonyms for jaded to use as a title for this entry, they are: unused, fresh. Well, I didn’t know that. Apparently that's another word of interest.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Staycation Smaycation!

No. We weren’t on staycation.

Yes. We were home for a week but we couldn’t seem to get away from the lure of work; phones ringing, e-mails being fired in our direction were just too much for us to ignore. A client here and one there became a few more for the both of us. Add the fact that my contractor hubby was doing his magic aka working on renovating the basement/treatment area and you can see that technically this was not a holiday for him at all.

I was the demolition crew. I used to think that Debra in the series Dexter was way over the top with her swearing, that was before reno week. Put a crowbar or a hammer in my hand (don’t get me started on power tools) and the testosterone starts flowing and her character seems totally frigg’n realistic to me man. There’s something empowering, transformative, even Shiva-like about tearing things apart in the service of new beginnings.

So, we caved and headed down to Watkins Glen in the good ole US of A and had ourselves a fabulous time!

We used The Longhouse Lodge Motel with continental breakfast proudly emblazoned on its sign as our home base. Ah, continental breakfast sounds exotic, elaborate, filling doesn’t it? But it’s always disappointing - Tang-like OJ, with a choice between toast, mini donuts or bagels with butter, strawberry or grape jelly – that’s what it really is; O.K. for a one-night stay but not for 5.

So we headed out for brekkie and discovered Savard’s Family Restaurant – great food (cinnamon French toast with real maple syrup – yum!), friendly service and cartoony placemats advertising local businesses with a Where’s Waldo-type theme challenging us to find such items as a brush, leaf, olive etc in the ads. Went there twice, left before finding the marble and the golf ball but worse, forgot to snag some for a fancy dinner setting with some friends. Damn. We’ll have to go back, either that or get them to mail some to us…hmmm.

We hiked Watkins Glen State Park – stunningly beautiful: waterfalls, potholes, well worn stone pathways winding their way up and up, a veritable image of Shangri-La as I view fellow trekkers climbing above and below me streaming through the distance at varying angles, traversing the waterway over stone bridges built by hand in the mid 1800’s - a seamless blending of nature and engineering; an incredible feat.

Later that afternoon we lazed at the public beach of Seneca Lake; I swam in its warm shallow waters.

We successfully found clothes that fit us (yea) at an outlet mall – if I’m a size 0, what the hell is Sarah Jessica Parker; took the Burgers, Beer and Blues cruise courtesy of Captain Bill’s Seneca Lake Cruises on a lovely breezy summer night (being a vegetarian of sorts my fare was a bun with tomato, lettuce and some warm cheese whizzy glop on top – surprisingly satisfying in a comfort food kind of way); savoured seafood dinners and local wines at historic Seneca Harbor Station; were thoroughly entertained by the glass blowers in the Corning Museum of Glass, beguiled by pretty shiny things and delighted with interactive exhibits; and (as recommended by Kathy a most personable, enthusiastic and helpful info centre employee) took in jazz night at the local band shell in the park and loved the neighbourly invite for “free ice cream for everyone at the ice cream truck” announced by the band leader during a break in which a local Christian group sang the lord’s praises, accompanied by a sound machine, to benefit a local camp for troubled kids while a grandmotherly lady passed the hat around.

A real slice of Americana, for sure!

And at the end of the day I’d while away the evening reading in the rocking chair outside our room with a view of the valley and lake below, as a handsome black and white short haired cat named George purred on my lap and occasionally I'd chat with neighbours passing through.

I did yoga a few mornings by the pool and did a few laps alone in the pool late one afternoon as Rod caught some Z-Z-Z’s in prep for the evening boat trip ahead.

Life just went at its own leisurely small town pace – delightful.

And now as my brother Rob put it, “welcome back to bedlam”. I’m too laid back – inertia weighs me down with indecision – but I’m also missing the roll I was on before we went away. Maybe I should make some calls or do some laundry or work on my latest project or clear clutter in exchange for the new items we purchased or read a book or just stare out into the nothingness...

However, Flippy in her role of Poopy Butt Girl and Maya in her capacity as Barfy Kitty bless their little furry hearts have come to the rescue, giving me focus.

Second night home I’m greeted by the smell of cat poo emanating from the bedroom. Sure as shit she’s had diarrhea all over the heavy bedspread (a precautionary forethought). She spends a few hours in the bathroom with a freshly soaped and rinsed behind to finish off in her leisure while Maya frets outside the door and I do an impromptu load of laundry.

Next morning after their 6:30 a.m. feeding I flop back to bed as usual but before I doze off a slightly crumbly butt rests on my hand – Wow, even more poo has come out of this cat. She gets tossed into the slammer again, but this time with a spare cat box. Maya stands vigil. I fall back into bed.

2 hours later, heading directly into the brig I declare, “Enough of this shit” and step into a pool of warm, freshly squeezed pee mere inches beside her complimentary kitty litter box. We emerge minutes later: feet cleaned, pool sopped up, Flippy’s butt fur trimmed within an inch of its life while Maya makes a get away scattering down the stairs.

I follow the diarrhea odour to its source on Rod’s leather couch – another successful hit by PBG and a typical target of her revenge.

The stress has proven too much for Maya who has, unbeknownst to me, during the day horked up the most massive fur ball, nay Fur Being as it has me shrieking in terror for it is easily 3 ½ inches long and 1 inch in diameter! “What the hell is this thing” I cringe at the thought of touching it until I realize just what it is and then I’m amazed, disgusted yes, but amazed too that this creation has come out of Tiny Perfect Kitty.

And, what is this I smell as I write to you dear reader but the scent of freshly made kitty poo – ah, life is falling into place, virtually shouting, “WELCOME HOME!” - gotta run!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Somewhere a theramin is playing!

O.K. what is it about this dreamwork that brings out synchronistic happenings?

In my last blog I talked about the dream DON'T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A KNOT and how the very next day my husband Rod used that phrase (which he's never done before) when I was getting frustrated dealing with something other than my knickers. I went on to talk about how to deal with knickers in a knot as opposed to how I deal with Christmas lights in a knot (see the last blog).

So don't I, just at this moment, open an e-mail from a university "sister" whom I haven't heard from in ages. She's sending one of those chain type e-mails which she says, "I normally don't send this type of thing but I liked the message of this one."

After the initial message was a whole bunch of inspirational sayings along with this comment: "you can tell the nature of an individual by how she handles, rainy days, old people, lost luggage, and tangled up Christmas lights". Aside from being an example of synchronicity at work this shows you that I am unphased by the weather, patient with the elderly, accepting of circumstances being sure that they will all work out in the end - a virtual paragon of peace and tranquility with 1/4 raving lunatic thrown in for balance.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not not, knot.

I have always been curious about prophetic dreams since it was a dream of apparent prophecy that got me interested in dreams in the first place – a dream that luckily, didn’t come true.

In my early teens I dreamt that I would die in a car accident, in which I was the driver of a red car, at the age of 21. I never told anyone about my dream which isn’t unusual as no one I knew talked about dreams.

What does one to do with information that seems fated? Well, for one thing, initially I vowed not to drive. But when I was 18, my 16 year old brother was learning and I said to myself, “If my younger brother can do it how difficult can it be?” After all I was safe until I was 21 wasn’t I? So then I decided to make a pact with fate, “keep me safe” I proposed, “and I won’t drive during the year I turn 21, or…maybe…if I do drive… I’ll make sure the car isn’t red.”

But, while my older brother was giving me a driving lesson in his red Cortina I smacked into a bush having spun off of some loose gravel after stalling on a steep hill. I virtually jumped out of the car and almost fell down the steep embankment a foot or so to the left of the vehicle. Well, that freaked me out because fate wasn’t keeping his side of the bargain and in my dream car there was a male in the passenger seat. That was just a little too close for comfort. It’s one thing if I crash and burn alone but it’s a whole other thing if I take someone with me. I wouldn’t be able to live, or is that die, with myself if that was the case.

I didn’t drive again til I was 30 but, I did establish a life long fascination with and practice of dreamworking.

A few weekends ago, during a workshop in ACTIVE DREAMING – lead by Ruth Lewis (a student of Robert Moss) using the lightning dreamwork technique, we asked the dreamer, “Could the dream happen in waking life?” Ruth said this is a good way to track ones’ powers of intuition. I became casually interested in this aspect and it has since become part of my dreamwork process.

Well, I had my first prophetic dream a few nights after the workshop!

I’ve been dealing with a challenging situation in my waking life so I decided to take it to my dreams. How can I deal with this frustrating, very intense, energy draining, seriously complicated dilemma that has dogged me for months now? My dreams surely would yield an answer full of symbolism, profound wisdom and deeply powerful images.

But I woke up with nada, nothing, bupkiss – only a fleeting irrelevant image, more like a mental burp really, that I discounted and forgot about; that is until later on in the day when I went to put on my gotchies.

My undies were all tangled up. Wham – OMG just like in my dream!

Now, I know you are saying to yourself. “What kind of stupid dream is that? How relevant is it to the situation?”

I titled my dream; DON’T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A KNOT.

Is that starting to make more sense to you?

I often dream in puns and there it was. The saying implies that I am getting worked up about nothing, and I am actually making the situation worse than it really is.

I felt annoyed at my gotchies in waking life; as I did in the dream. What do you do when your knickers are in a knot? The only way to put on knotted knickers is to be patient as you unknot them (Remember we’re talking about essential panties, not Christmas tree lights which, when I last dealt with them, I was patient for about 2 seconds. Then the uncontrollable swearing started; flailing about with them like some crazy person followed. Finally I chucked my conservation ethics along with the big tangled ball in the trash and I felt much better, thank you very much!), and keep your balance while you step into them one foot at a time.

So, it was reminding me to watch what I feed with my energy, take time untangling my energy from the situation, keep my balance in the process and enter back into the situation from my new perspective; taking one step at a time.

Because of the dream and its message I was able to realize 2 light bulb moments in ordinary reality that I probably wouldn’t have recognized without understanding the message of the dream. These waking life situations made me see negative thought and action patterns of mine that were complicating the situation, feeding it and perpetuating the very thing that I’ve been trying to free myself from. Fortunately, once they were revealed and I dealt with my bruised ego, I could take responsibility, forgive myself and let it go – untangling cords of negativity that had been formed. Then the actions that were required to move forward; the change in attitude and approach needed became very clear to me.

Sometimes the small dreams are the really big ones in disguise.

And, as if to emphasize the message an element of synchronicity occured in waking life just yesterday when I was getting frustrated while working on renovations with my husband and he said (and I've never heard him say this before), "Don't get your knickers in a knot". Yup, he did. I kid you not.

Monday, August 17, 2009

TRAVEL ADVISORY

What you are about to read is the “stuff” of life. You can’t make this “stuff” up.

You might recall my blog Reader’s Digest Reject #1 in which a friend of ours lost his dentures, while body surfing in Hawaii, on day one of a 3 week vacation. Unable to get them replaced in that time span, he was forced to gum his food for the remainder of his stay.

Well, Rod and I went over to Austin and Linda’s place for a BBQ and who should be there but our friend the body surfer, his wife and another couple (who we’d only met once or twice before), the husband of which is the best friend of body surfing guy; they’ve known each other since they were kids.

Our friend proceeded to tell the denture story in animated detail beginning with, “a big wave came up and slapped me on the back of the head” whacking his head for effect “and blew my dentures right out of my mouth…” making a projecting motion with his head.

His wife confirmed that indeed he was dentureless for the duration and added, “every time we walked the beach we’d call out - here chompers, chompers, chompers - and scan the shore but we had no luck.”

Then to my amazement his friend says, “That’s nothing. I lost mine on the first day of a 4 week vacation in Hawaii and couldn’t get them replaced either.”

He was snorkeling and as he climbed into the boat he pulled the snorkel out of his mouth; inadvertently his dentures came out with it and were flung into the sea.

“I sat at the edge of the boat and watched them float down and out of view as we were motored away.” said his helpless wife whose wild gestures and shouts of distress went unnoticed by her husband and the pilot of the boat til it was too late.

What are the odds? At a table of 8 people, not one but two, have lost their dentures to the waters of Hawaii. Apparently the odds are 2 out of 8. That's a staggering 25% people!

Therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to issue this travel alert.

TRAVEL ADVISORY:

Beware the waters of Hawaii, they will claim your dentures if you are not alert!
Bring an extra set with you.

Better still; go to Hawaii while you still have your teeth!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Inside


This Saturday the inspiration for this cartoon turns 95 years old. At the time of this cartoons’ composing, my friend Pat Dix was about 76.

Pat is the mother of Pam (a member of the Council of the Sleepover). She has been a friend of mine since I became an adult, but even before that she was someone special to me.

When I was a child she had, long beautiful black hair that she braided and secured to her head with exotic combs. But she’d let it flow freely down her back or in a single braid in the summer when she was gardening. The summer sun tanned her olive skin to a perfection envied by us teens who’d spend hours slathered in baby oil with sun reflectors made of Reynolds wrap angled at our necks to get just the right distribution of rays.

She worked hard at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital handling the autoclave in the sterilization unit. Then her refined good taste, sense of style and natural elegance shone through as a sales woman at Birk’s – later to become People’s Credit Jewelers (managed by my uncle Lou). And her sense of adventure, challenge and passion for reading was employed in her position as the Bookmobile lady for the local library. During a time in which many of our mothers stayed at home she worked out of necessity – having been widowed in her 40’s. I was well aware of this and admired her strength and all the things that she could do.

Her home is filled with her artwork. Oil paintings adorn her walls; one of a beautiful, slender, black woman comes to mind as do the many landscapes. Her skills as a craftswoman are displayed on upholstered chairs which she has elaborately embroidered, quilts which cover her beds, picked-thread-work runners and table cloths. I’ve watched her do counted threadwork – in white relief no less, and manage countless bobbins of thread, skills I could never imagine having the patience for in my wildest dreams.

I think we really became friends when Pam was away in other places and I would continue to visit Mrs. Dix, who began insisting I call her Pat and we’d have a coffee and talk about art and life. She includes Coronation Street and the motor sport racing circuit amongst her many interests. She always had time for me, made me feel welcome and appreciated.

The best thing someone can do for me is to teach me a skill and help me perfect it and I am eternally grateful to Pat for teaching me how to knit. For a few years I belonged to various informal weekly knitting groups that met at her home: one was comprised of members of the council and another consisted of my sister-in-law Patti, her sister Maureen, and me.

I’ll always remember Pat and me sitting in her sun room, working on our projects; waiting for Patti and Maureen to arrive. We’d hear their car pull in to her gravel driveway. There would always be a substantial pause before a car door would slam. Then Pat and I would crack up (she’s got a great laugh accompanied by a broad smile that crinkles up the corners of her eyes) at the decibel level increase that occurred as Patti and Maureen chattered to each other on their way to Pat’s door. “Here we go.” Pat would chuckle. Pat’s a low key sort and those evenings would be filled with fevered discussions and much laughter. I’m sure we wore her out on many an occasion but you’d never know it as she always welcomed you in with a smile, every time.

With her love of colour, texture, design and her innate teaching ability, she inspired me to knit; she was surprised at how quickly I picked it up but I know it was due to her inspiration. And for years I have taken my work over to her for her perusal.

So, the cartoon, well it was an actual conversation which I slightly shifted for it was Pat who told me the story of going to a fast food restaurant and having a little “twerp” call her ma’am and how she hated it because it made her feel like some little old lady.

I was thinking to myself, "but, Pat you are" when she continued, “it’s not fair” she said, “being in an ageing body; all young people see when they look at me is wrinkles and grey hair when inside I really feel like I’m still 20. They don’t see the young person inside.”

Just last Christmas when Pam, Glyn and I were having a knitting night at Pat’s I reminded her of that conversation and I asked, “I guess you still feel like you’re 20, eh?”

“No, not 20” she paused for a while, smiled and then chuckled, “probably around 30”.

So Pat from my 18 year-old self to your 30 year-old self.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And, to everyone else, next time you’re talking to a 90 year old remember to say hi to the 30 year old inside.
(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1990)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Stones Speak

As I walk along the shore thinking about my friends and I - the intertwining of the journeys of our lives, the uniqueness of our souls, our different personalities, this moment in time and our love for each other - the stones crunch underneath my feet and beckon to tell a healing tale.

“The sound you hear as you walk upon us is our call to you. Wake up! This is a puzzle you can not solve. Let the questions and the seeds of emotion they contain gently reside within your heart then look to us and listen.”

A dark black stone with a red tip stands out from the thousands of others; mysterious, one of a kind, revealer of secrets. As I pluck it from the water’s edge it tells of how a chance occurrence of friction can unleash emotions. Emotions, longstanding and dormant become exposed when the surface veneer gets peeled away like a bandage torn from a wound that has never healed but festers deep within.

The second; one could easily overlook it. The power of a peaceful heart and a calm spirit is readily underestimated. The beach is heavily populated with many variations of its casual ordinariness without flash. Multiple-layered, with clearly delineated bands of shades of grey and beige they speak of the need to calmly reside, as a witness, in many levels of awareness in order to explore the many facets of wounding; from these vantage points the full spectrum of healing occurs in the heart, from the heart and to the heart.

And the last - radiant and inviting; I marvel at its softness, the warmth of it in my hand and I clutch it to my heart as it wants to be embraced. This stone’s heart centre is a perfect splash of sage green nestled amidst speckled coral pinkness. It is the healed self – heart open, radiating with compassion and love for self and others.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

PHONIES

Knowing many different "types" of people and observing similar fleeting gestures and expressions, I noticed that though the clothes and style may be different deep down people really are the same.

That was all I intended to write about this, but I just remembered that I don't have the original drawing. During a cartoon convention a local veteran cartoonist (this was when I lived in Victoria, B.C.) came to my booth, read my cartoons and laughed... a lot... (I kept my ear cocked the whole time he was reading them).

When he was finished he took the time to tell me he enjoyed my cartoons. I thought he was just being kind and thanked him.

The next day he returned. Might he buy the original cartoon from me, he asked; he loved it so much. Well, I felt so honoured that I gave it to him right then and there. As he turned to leave he hesitated - might I autograph it for him? HE, with genuine admiration, was asking ME for MY autograph! Maybe, people really are the same.

As I signed my name it felt like I'd "made it". Though that wasn't the case, I never really did "make it" as a cartoonist, he made my day that day and that was something really big.

Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1984.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

3 days at flo's

Just 2 weekends ago I was on my way up to Port Albert with Jan and Pam (members of the council) for a fun-filled 3 days at Flo’s place.

Our first day was a beach day for sunning, swimming, and summertime novel reading.

We rode our bikes to the “zoo” to visit Janet’s peeps, the sheep, who last year confirmed her as one of their own when, to our amazement, they called out “Jaaa-aaa-aaa-neeh-eeh-eet” (swear to God it is true!). The animal refuge is filled with llamas, alpacas, goats, elks and sheep and as we sped away to beat an oncoming storm 2 young alpacas gamboled alongside us.

Later that day we visited Jan’s sister’s cottage to meet up with her sister Bub, daughter Rebecca, nephew Bill, his wife Andrea and their 18 month old son Duncan. It blew my mind when I realized that Duncan is the fourth generation to make sand castles on this very beach in front of this same cottage.

As we toured the cottage Bub showed the many quilts adorning the beds (Glyn, I thought of you then; you would have loved them!). As she traced her hands over each quilt she fondly recounted the story contained in each piece as naturally as if she’d put a stylus gently upon a record and I realized that the appeal and magic of the quilt is that they contain the visual and tactile history of events in the lives of the quilters.

Each morning the others joined in my daily ritual of drawing from the Journey to Kanaka Makua cards to see what the tone of the day would bring. Then we’d retire on to the deck to take in the sun. There I’d do yoga while the others were guided by Florence in her famous face exercises.

I was banned from her class a number of years prior due to uncharacteristic, horrible, uncontrollable, heckling behaviour on my part. I admit I did sneak in a facial gesture or 2 as I did my yoga poses and, after owning up to my behaviour and humbly confessing that Florence has shown unexpected dedication and sincerity in her practice of the face exercises and that the results are indeed remarkable, was welcomed to participate. Once our faces were sufficiently stimulated we sat with our coffee, smoothies (left-over pizza in Pam’s case) and planed our day.

In Kincardine and Goderich we perused used book stores, shoe stores and a quilt shop. My stamina for shopping is no match for that of the others and I enjoyed looking in the shop windows or just hanging out on the street while they lingered. Soon I was corralled into a shoe store to see the shoes that Jan and Pam agreed “were meant for you. We thought of you as soon as we saw them. You have to get them.” They fit me as surely as the glass slipper was made for Cinderella… and they were in the bargain rack for $10.

Best thing, I didn’t have to sort through stacks of stuff to find them. I love it! These women are not only my best friends; they’re also my personal shoppers!

I spent the rest of the afternoon mincing all over the cobble stoned streets of Kincardine in my high heeled gemmed beauties, jeans, hoodie and sunglasses – the epitome of celebrity shabby shiekness.

After returning to Flo’s, so that Pam could pick out just the right “flying outfit” to set the mood, we headed out to the local airstrip for her first flying lesson. Those who know and love Pam can well imagine the permanent smile plastered on her face and enthusiasm that oozed out of her every pore in anticipation.

This last night of our stay found the gods blessing us with a glorious clear sky which had just a few hours prior been filled with grey menacing thunder clouds. This was the perfect setting for Pam’s maiden voyage in the Diamond Canata 2 seater plane at 8p.m. The pilot described it as a race car with wings so we all know that Pam was thrilled and in her element.

I was enlisted as the official photographer for said historic event and hopefully Pam will allow me to post some in a future entry. Since Pam can’t take a bad pic there will be plenty to choose from.

I didn’t get to bed til 2 a.m. that night but rose in time to bike down to the lake for one last swim. At 8:30 a.m. I was the only soul on the beach for miles! In this area of Lake Huron the cottages are mostly older and modest, set well back of the beach. The water level is up very high and the blue-green, grasses native to the area are coming back, encroaching on the beach. Much of the shoreline is pebbled.

As I walked along the beach the crystal clear aquamarine water lapped on to the shore, propelled by a gentle wind, following the contours of the shoreline. I became mesmerized by the sound of my breath, the rhythm of my foot falls and the ebb and flow of the wavelets which traveled along the length of the angle of the beach providing the perfect curls as they advanced. Perfect for surfing, if you were an inch tall.

The water called me in. For me nothing can match the sheer awe of being in nature all alone. Gratitude filled me as I swam and floated in the calm, clear waters taking in the rays of the sun until my limbs became chilled. Then I lay on my towel, while the warm wind dried the droplets from my skin.

When muffled sounds of conversation and shoes digging into the pebbled beach became louder and clearer with the approach of 2 walkers, I caught myself becoming irritated, “it’s getting too crowded; “time to move on!” I had to laugh I had just spent 2 hours in solitude on this lovely beach. How spoiled we are in this amazing country. I jumped on my bike and returned refreshed and ready to join the others packing up to spend some time in Goderich before leaving for home.

That afternoon, before we headed out to go our separate ways, we got gelato from the gelato shop in town operated by the most enthusiastic gelatineer you could ever imagine! We sat outside her store enjoying our treats, chatting, laughing and kidding one and other, reading suggestive passages from Jan’s “bodice ripper” and called our loved ones on our cels to say we’d be home soon but stretched out the leave-taking, reluctant to let go of the cottage frame of mind and our friends. It was only the raindrops heralding an oncoming storm that forced us into our vehicles and down the road.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Passenger 1

Hi Faithful Readers,

As I was pondering which topic to blog about I realized that I needed to make my MOM REPORT to my 4 siblings and Jill, Mom's/our amazing caregiver. As I wrote, it became more of a story so I submit a blog version of it here for your enjoyment.

Anyone who has an elderly parent with dementia can relate, I'm sure. So take heart. As Red Green (one of my favourite characters, in one of my favourite Canadian shows of all time) says, "we're all in this together."
____________________________________________________________

Hi All,

Sorry I am very lax in getting visit report out to you.

WARNING: this is a long piece, so get a cup of coffee and relax. There is no vital info in this e-mail message.

I took Mom to hairdressers on Sat.

Her speech was pretty clear for the most part though she goes through periods when she's just nattering away and I just laugh along with her and make listening sounds and she seems O.K. with this. It was pretty obvious when she was trying to get through to me and then we'd work on it together though some sentences and thoughts sprung forth fairly easily.

As we made our way into Oakville, Mom enjoyed listening to my young friend Melissa McClelland in a CBC interview, and laughed readily at the set-up with the telemarketer. My friend Glynnie had called me earlier to let me know that the interview was coming up. So, while I prepared for this little road trip with Mom I enjoyed Melissa’s rendition of one of my favourite songs of hers PASSENGER 24 (Stop reading now. Play the video and see if you, yourself don't just want to jump into the car right now and take off, eh!?). It brings to mind many cross country bus trips of my own in my youth and just makes me want to hit the road, though not particularly with my 88 year old Mom on a journey to the hairdressers, but that’s beside the point.

Mom was good with the transfers from car to wheel chair, to chair, to chair etc. and at Milka's (her hairdresser’s name) even began to initiate it on her own when we told her we were going to move her! She gets stronger each time which is interesting. Milka and the gang there are great with Mom and Mom enjoyed the beauty shop banter, laughing along with all.

But, when we got to the restaurant it began raining. Luckily, Rob was there with umbrella and helped me in with Mom. We all had lunch together. Mom is a little confused re: use of cutlery (I cut it up for her and got rid of the knife), napkins etc. but once she gets in the swing of using fork she is O.K. though you have to watch her with coffee which can end up tettering on the edge of a plate or hovering at precarious angles over her lap.

So, everything was great til we got back to the nursing home and IT WAS RAINING CATS AND DOGS!!!! We sat in the car for a while but it didn't stop so I got out, got her wheelchair out of the back of my car and my umbrella but realized that I couldn't manage the two together enough to be able to keep Mom dry. Put the wheelchair under the awning/entrance and got the receptionist to help. She held 2 umbrellas while I managed Mom’s transfer.

As I was trying to get her attention, Mom kept grabbing an envelope that I was supposed to mail for Rod - she had kept gravitating to it all through the trip home and I kept putting it back in the slot in the dash. By the time I got back to the car to help her out, she had been working on it again and had made a nice little origami piece out of it (luckily not torn as it was a check). So, I finally had to thank her for taking care of it and then toss it underneath the seat.

But the time I got her focused on the task at hand she was a little confused and said that she wasn't supposed to get out of the car (I'd told her that when I left for assistance). As I began to shift her she got all rigormortesy on me and tried to grab everything she could to help stabilize herself. The receptionist, holding the umbrellas, kept saying, "you won't be able to do this (take her out) much more" which, like the rain pissing down my back, was pissing me off. My friends know what happens when I get that way, but be reassured gentle reader, I restrained myself.

Somehow saying "It's O.K. Mom, I've got you. Trust me, trust me" wasn't reassuring enough for her. When I realized that she probably didn't recognize me, soaking and pissed off as I was, I told her “it’s Nance” and focused on her more gently. Once we got laughing at the situation she eased up and it was fine.

As I wheeled her through the halls of the nursing home - Mom regally nodded, waved and said “hello” to all she passed - the sounds of laughter welcomed us along with comments like, "Wow, what happened to you! (I looked like a drowned rat)...Mom looks nice and dry though." That was when Mom jokingly decided she wasn't ready to go into her room and wanted to be wheeled around some more, but fortunately she needed to use the "you know what" so I had an opportunity to make my exit, landing a peck on her cheek and saying good bye, while she was sitting on the can. Life becomes pretty casual when you’re 88.

She had a great time, was none the worse for wear and I left her in good spirits.

And me? I had a good visit to the chiropractor on Monday.

Love and Light,
N

P.S. I'm feeling much better now that I'm all cracked out thanks to Dr. Steve. You'd think I'd been grappling with a sumo wrestler instead of a 90lb, 88 year-old, "frail" (frail my ass) woman by the amount of adjusting he had to do. He also said he could see me later in the week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stories of my lives

I recently O.K’d the last edit of my contribution to Stories From the Yogic Heart a collection of stories of how yoga has transformed one’s life and in writing my bio, I was confronted by an odd realization.

We tell ourselves stories of our life and for better or worse these stories begin to take on a life of their own and shape our lives with far broader implications than we could ever imagine.

For the longest time one of my stories has revolved around failure, specifically my failure to get to India to study yoga during a 10 year period from the mid ‘70’s to the mid 80’s.3 times I tried and 3 times I failed due to: poor timing, miscommunication, lack of funds, yada yada yada…the list goes on and on. I began studying and practicing in my teens, well before it became mainstream – just me (the weird kid) doing yoga in our family room. The only others I knew who did yoga were middle aged western women like Kareen and Lilias on T.V. and scantily-clad, double jointed East Indian men who appeared in books on the subject. If anyone was meant to study in India it was me, or so I thought.

In one of Alberto Villoldo’s books (I’m reading 3 books at the same time and 2 of them are his, so I don’t know which one this is from – either the Four Insights or the one on Soul Retrieval.) he says that the inability to reach ones goals is due to lack of commitment. And, that was true in this case. Bottom line, there was a lack of commitment on my part, not to yoga, nor to my practice (I loved my asana practice, still do.) but towards going to India where it all began.

For, you see, I took a Straight Walk workshop with Swami Radha around the same time that I was trying to get to India. And that, though I didn’t comprehend it at the time, changed everything because in her I’d found my spiritual teacher. Her practices took me to the depths of my soul right here in Canada and formed the foundation for my present practice, spiritual evolution, the work that I do now and the way I live my life.

I enjoyed a rich yoga life from my mid 20’s to mid 30’s. I had a dedicated asana practice. I studied multiple aspects of yoga with Swami Radha from the mid ‘70’s to the 80’s through workshops and during a 6 month residency at Yasodhara Ashram and I house-sat and lived at Shambhala House Victoria (now called a Radha House) on and off towards the end of my stay in Victoria.

During one workshop with Swami Radha I voiced frustration at my inability to “get it together” to achieve my goal of getting to India. A fellow yogi said that he observed sincerity in my practice and, as he saw it, “India” resided in my heart. He was the first to voice that my path was simply different from my hatha yoga mentor and peers, no more or less noble than any other aspirant on the spiritual path. I thought he was being kind, but in hearing his words of compassionate wisdom, my heart sang

As I wrote my bio the gratitude I felt towards Swami Radha and her work allowed me to realize that throughout my life, whenever I’ve thought about my evolution in yoga, despite evidence to the contrary, I focused on a story line of failure rather than one of success.

Realizing the impact that this story of failure has had on me and my life is a paradigm shifting experience; by altering the way I view my past, my experience of my present, future and even the past itself is being reshaped. And, I am experiencing a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual shift in my being that is infusing me with a new found energy and possibility.

What this has taught me is that when we seek new vantage points from which to view our life we realize that the past is malleable and memories of it are not cast in stone. Today I give myself permission to be happy; seek out those light filled memories of success, contentment, bliss and let them reshape my past, present and future.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pubic Betrayal

Was feelin’ fine,
Was feelin’ sound,
Til one grey pubic hair I found.
Odd that the ones on my head
Don’t fill me with such sense of dread
Of my
Impending
Ending
As
One grey hair
Down there.

(poem Copyright Nance Thacker 1984)

I’m sorting out mental clutter today, can’t you tell, as for some reason this bad poem is stuck in my head and I figured that the best way to get rid of it is to get it out into the open.

The fact is I’m so over this now.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the gig is up - virtual clutter be gone!

Beef Pasties with Onion and Stilton, Caramel Nut Tart, Texas Beef Brisket Chili, Roast Beef with Dijon Caper Sauce, Winter Minestrone, Glazed Pearl Onions in Port, Brandied Plum Clafoutis….

“Brandied Plum what?”

Never mind. What do all of these things have in common?

This is only a partial list of recipes I will never use. So what the heck are they doing in my e-mail in box? They are there because I can have them. I can collect them and store them in a section of my computer; pull them up, drool over them (O.K. well not the meat items as I haven’t had beef since 1971), and taste them virtually without ever having to make them. Ones own little stash of food porn, available at the tap of a key.

They won’t collect dust on my shelves or take up any physical space just gigs on my laptop. And what the hell is a gig anyway? And why is it one of the top items listed in a computer’s features? I know it’s got to do with storage space but I’ve never run out of them so what should it matter? It’s like telling me that: some hot little sports car can go from 0 – 100 in 3 seconds flat (yup like I’m going to need that on the way to my yoga class and a cop’s not going to nail my ass if I did decide to test it out); or that a record player “can even play your records upside down” (told to me by a phonographophile salesman).
“Wow,” was my wide-eyed response, as I was truly impressed by this technological marvel.
When I shared this fact with a friend his response was, “So then I guess you’re intending on listening to the Ride of the Valkyries, as your boat goes down during the perfect storm?”

I don’t own a boat.

Back to my point, I’m still working the Soul Coaching program and each day I have been sorting out stuff. Stuff takes up space. As I get rid of excess stuff space is opened up. This opening feels spacious, actually allows me to breathe freer and feels so good that I haven’t been tempted to fill it up again.

My old recipe box now has 1/3 rd less cards in it. In the clearing out process favourite dishes were unearthed and brought to the front of the box. Inspired by these dishes, I actually spent a day cooking various meals and freezing them. Yes, my friends you heard that right. People who know me know that I loathe the mundane, daily routine of meal planning and cooking with a passion.

This conversation drives me crazy:

Me, “What do you want to have for dinner?”
Translation: “What would you like to make me for dinner?”

Rod, “I don’t know. What do you want to have?”
My interpretation: “I don’t consciously know, but do the Vulcan Mind Meld on me and pull out one of the many possibilities that reside in the depths of my mind and I will know that our love is true.”

Me, “I don’t know.”
Translation: “Aaarrgh” I begin to hyperventilate and run screaming from the house, jump into the hot red sports car waiting in my drive and in 3 seconds flat go blazing down the road at 100 miles an hour.
Actual translation: “I really, really, really don’t know. Please God, make this conversation go away!”

So, now I have an assortment of simple, home-made, healthy, preservative free food labeled and waiting to be plucked from the freezer, awakened from their frozen slumber and joined with a side salad for leisurely and hassle free daily consumption. Light some candles, turn on the record player, raise the stylus up to the record, ah bliss; works for me.

Back at the computer now; sorting out stuff includes, surprise surprise, virtual stuff too. Hoarding is hoarding in all its forms. Imagining myself to be some sort of gourmand, I had signed up for weekly recipes and food feature mailings from epicurious, months ago and I just keep filing them away without a glance. Turns out all of this excess accumulation does use up memory and make your computer run slower; like one’s mind which, caught up on distractions and diversions take us off the path of our true desire and deplete our energy for life.

And as I sort out this stuff I imagine my mind clearing itself of useless clutter, getting sharper, focusing on what I really want to spend my time doing while these keys are smok’n under my fingertips.

DELETE it is!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Message in a Bottle

As I walked the sun dappled, stony shore of Lake Ontario this morning a faint glint of green caught my eye. Instantly a familiar fascination washed over me. I knelt down and plucked the object from its bed of muted, multi-coloured pebbles. Many times I had, as a child, spent languid summer days beachcombing in search of such weathered treasures shaped by the elements.

As I lifted it up into the sunlight this is what it said to me:

Grains gathered
Heat fused
Glistening glass
Use to contain
Now shattered
Wave eroded
Sand dispersed

copyright Nance Thacker 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

THE PORTRAIT

As a kid, when I wasn’t climbing trees, riding my bike or doing some other physical activity, I was drawing. I loved the feel of the pencil in my hand and the glide of the graphite on the empty sheet of white before me. As I worked its graphite into as varied lines or shades of grey as possible my mind became focused, all else slipped away and a doorway into the realm of creation opened into which I would enter and remain for hours on end, oblivious to everything and everyone else around me.

Sometimes it seemed the more activity and noise around me the better and since our small house contained 7 people this was the ideal environment in which to hone my skills. My “studio” was located at the kitchen table or on the family room floor where I sprawled out on the rug with pencils strewn around me providing a live obstacle course for other family members.

Over the years I became skilled at portraiture as meticulous renderings of celebrity photos became replaced with real life observations. And, it was around that time that Dad began requesting a sitting for himself and would sit before me in mock serious poses, sticking his chin out in a regal manner so that the best profile could be captured for all eternity. Well, there was no way that this was going to happen; no way that I could see myself undertaking such a challenge, and a challenge it would be. How would I keep myself from laughing?

The years went by and every once in a while this request would come up and every time resistance to the task arose within me. Until one day, after I’d returned from Victoria with 4 years of cartooning under my belt, Dad animatedly recounted a humourous episode he’d endured while undergoing heart tests. “You should make a cartoon of that, Nanca. Make a cartoon of that and I’ll take it back to the cardiologists.” His enthusiasm was contagious and so, to his delight, the cartoon came about and I think the rendering in the second block does in fact bare a pretty good resemblance of him. I feel that this “portrait” reveals his character, as does BLOW UP YOUR T.V., far better than one static image could convey. The best reward of all - it made him laugh.

Dad, though Scotty’s beamed you aboard the big Enterprise in the sky, here’s to you. Thanks for the memories.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!


*(cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1990)