Sunday, November 8, 2015

FLIPPY - a tribute

FLIPPY - a recent photo
It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of our beloved kitty, Flippy (? 2002 - Nov 7/15). After a brief, incurable illness, Flippy passed at home in sacred space with the compassionate assistance and guidance of Dr Lee of Capital Cat Hospital. Rod, Nance and kitty buddy Maya were all present to honour her passing.

Flip, our BBG (big beautiful girl), a rescue kitty from Burlington Animal Aid (now the Burlington Humane Society) retired in 2013 from her job as official greeter/ therapy assistant for my clients at my home practice in Burlington, ON. These responsibilities she herself elected to take on shortly after coming to live with us in Sept of 2003.

in "flippy" mode
The lovely, sedate, "Vatican" (the name they gave her due to the little streak of a few grey hairs on her forehead) that we met at the shelter immediately revealed herself to be a wild and crazy girl, defying gravity with her aerodynamic skills and sudden bursts of leaping (aka leaprosy). We renamed her Flippy and somewhere along the line the grey streak vanished and she grew into being a big beautiful pure white cat. She possessed a very expressive face and would smile often. Flip was the smartest cat we've ever known who loved to play fetch down the hallway, scale the kitty tree, cuddle with Maya and watch birds, squirrels. She was amazed at the sight of a deer in our backyard in Victoria.

Her buddy, Maya, was adopted on the same day as Flip and Flippy took her under her wing, teaching her cat skills which Maya lacked; most notably climbing. Maya, was a few weeks old when she came to the Oakville Humane Society with her litter mates but due to bias against black kitties, remained there for over a year, long after the others had been adopted. She was a "hider", a frightened and shy little smooshball who, we were told, would probably never take to people and probably spend her life hiding away from us. So, of course, we had to take her.

We were thrilled when Maya and Flip took an immediate liking to each other. Flip became Maya's kitty therapist of sorts and was instrumental in bringing Maya out of her shell and getting her trust. Maya returned the favour, comforting a very distressed Flippy when they arrived at our new home in Victoria, BC in 2013 after spending over a week in a kitty kennel and enduring airplane travel.
Flippy sleeps restfully when Maya joins her after their long journey.
Our buddy was always a loving presence from the most challenging times in our lives to the most joyous and for this I am deeply grateful.
Flippy will always be deeply loved and remembered. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other in the dream space. I send her off with this Kundalini yoga, farewell blessing…

May the long time sun.
Shine upon you.
All love surround you.
And the pure light within you.
Guide your way on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you dearest Flippy for blessing us with your presence.

Monday, October 12, 2015


…I hit the wall last week on social media thanks to a wonderful family gathering with the in-laws.

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I'm filled with warm, childhood memories of simpler times and Thanksgivings gone by at Mom and Dad's. Mom was not one known for her culinary skills. Her remark, "I'd rather we could take a pill," pretty much summed up her love affair with cooking. But she always rose to the occasion when it came to family celebrations, especially Thanksgiving, after all we had much to be thankful for.

Mom was always the last to come to the table, taking off her apron along the way. Despite her pleadings for us to start without her, we'd wait for her arrival with our plates piled high.

My Dad would ask the obligatory, "Does anyone want to say grace?"…

Giggles. "Grace" said the more irreverent family members.

Without missing a beat he would continue on, "For this, our daily bread, may we truly be thankful."

We'd linger at the table over our dessert of pumpkin pie and whipped cream not wanting to break the spell of calm, contented, satiation and Dad, the old "philosopher" would share what he was thankful for. "We have our health," he would say this even when his own health was failing, "and we have each other. No matter where you are, or what life presents you with, I hope you will always remember these times and be grateful."

I do and I am.

Thank you turkey; thank you "Dad's" dressing
So what does this have to do with my social media "fast"?

During my visit I observed how we, I include myself here, have become obsessed with our devices. In the last post, I wrote that they help me connect with family members and friends who are geographically far away. There is no doubt that, used within reason, they provide the desired link. But, they also take me out of the present moment and away from my own creative devices.

Anxiety ridden, dissatisfaction-fuelled, advertising worms its way insidiously into my life filling me with impossible desires. Petitions, all for very good causes, leave me feeling powerless despite the actions I take in real life to defend the ocean and its inhabitants. Requests for donations at every turn arouse a sense of hopelessness for the earth. If only money talks and has power then we truly are doomed.

Where does the time go while I'm swiping through FB, answering e-mails, texting while "taking time out" to chill and "watch" a program on TV? Spreading myself so thin divides me up into little pieces. I'm scattered, ramped up; wanting.…What?…Anything but what I already have, it seems.

Add that to the chaos that accompanies every family gathering: the unspoken expectations, good intentions, subconscious agendas, spontaneous change-ups, miscommunication, emotional triggers; a cold in incubation, and you get someone "undone" by life. Time to unplug.

A week later, more grounded, calm and creative I ask myself, "Do I want to jump back into the throng?"

May this time with your family find you unplugged, feeling grateful, and filled with memories to warm your heart.


Thursday, August 27, 2015


One of the first batches of cards which I mailed out
So much time has passed since my last post here. I've been very active on my other blog AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS and social media: my personal FB page, my other FB page AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS, my new FB page AM I DREAMING?, and most lately INSTAGRAM.

You'd think that I'm a computer nerd but you'd be wrong…sort of. Distance from family and friends coupled with a strange desire to connect with people in some way draws me to these more interactive venues. Face Time and Skype, FB messenger, What's Ap, phone text messaging and even the good old phone keep me in touch with my buddies.

To balance this all out, physical restlessness and a need for real life often beckons me - you know, that sphere of physical reality that exists beyond all this technology. So, I'm not sitting at the computer 24/7.

My writing has become less about "me" and more about stories and connectedness. I love to hear other people's stories about synchronicity and following the synchronicity "strings" between stories, people, events and daily happenings. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it just amuses and comforts me to see the connectedness of all things when I feel so disconnected from family and friends living so far away. Maybe I'm just curious about people in general.

Anyway, I came up with this game that I call AM I DREAMING? It all started simply enough on the invitation of a friend to join her at a workshop Bootstrap Marketing with Marc Stoiber at the Greater Victoria Public Library. I reluctantly went, more for the coffee and pastry reward we were going to indulge in afterwards than for the event itself. I felt more reluctance when we were asked to pair up and brainstorm on ways to promote/market our products. I blatantly confessed to my partner, "I don't have a product.", before the handshake and name exchange so that she could find someone else and get me off the hook.

"Neither do I."

Well this is promising.

We rebelliously stuck together and chatted while the others mingled and brainstormed as directed.

Then Marc showed us his business card; just a card with his website URL on it. That got my attention. And then he said, "Have fun with it. Be creative."

As I walked home I thought about what a frustrating pain in the ass my experience with marketing has been. All my elaborate efforts at promo, blogging, e-mailing, talking up what I do, presenting free classes and demos, posting of flyers that get torn down or, more rudely, posted over and for what?

I'm not reaching the dreamers though I know they're out there; but where? How can I reach that quirky bunch?

What the hell, make it simple, be creative and have fun.

The cards were supposed to be just about business but this has become something far more enjoyable and open ended. Will more students come to my workshops and classes? I don't know and at this point I don't care. But, I am curious as to where it will lead me, who will connect with me and what branches will grow as people participate. And, it's helping me to appreciate life on a daily basis as I've committed to making daily entries on my FB AM I DREAMING? page - my streak started on Aug 17th.

The card designs began simply as well but have morphed into more creative expressions leading me back into artwork of sorts. As I draw and embellish the cards it's freed me up to explore mediums and designs without the judgment or the harsh self-criticism that has limited my previous attempts. After all it's not really about producing "art"; I'm making cards, just playing with line, design and colour.

I have to pinch myself sometimes when I realize how lucky I am to live here
Drawing up more cards on the patio. They're getting more elaborate.
I'm having a lot of fun with them, it's very satisfying to be doing artwork again.
So, I'm out there, really I am, not here…that much…for the time being.
You will find posts at:

Awakening Choice Dreams Website:
Am I Dreaming? explained here
- blog here where I write about dreams

Awakening Choice Dreams FB page where I share interesting posts and articles I've found.
AM I DREAMING? FB page where I post photos and stories about my daily Am I Dreaming? experiences (some are shares of my Instagram photos with further elaboration) and where you can send your AM I DREAMING? experiences for me to share

 AM I DREAMING?  I post photos and brief paragraphs about my daily Am I Dreaming? experiences and where you can post a picture and short explanation using the hashtags #amIdreaminggame #amIdreaming #amIdreamingcard #card(followed by the number of the card that you have)

If you want to play AM I DREAMING? using one of my cards, let me know and I'll send you one free complimentary card (I just need your mailing address). Send your request to me at
For $20 you can get a minimum order of 20 numbered, one-of-a-kind cards (10/sheet)

I had a funny realization a few days back. My Dad was in constant search of peoples' stories. After he retired he even passed out a card that said NORM THACKER A FRIEND. Yikes, it dawned on me that what I'm doing isn't really that different - meeting people from a point of friendliness and shared connections. Maybe my "Norm" genes are acting up proving the old adage that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Combing the Coast - French Beach

SURF RIDER- COMBING THE COAST French Beach 2015 from Jen Steele on Vimeo.

This beach clean up was in March and Jen got the video out shortly afterwards.

Jen spent a lot of time interviewing a whack of people. She asked permission to follow us around for a bit and after a while I kind of forgot that she was filming.

At the monthly meeting in April a few people came up to me and said that I was a pretty good spokesperson, but I had no idea that the video had come out nor that Rod and I appeared in so much footage. I have to admit that it felt pretty cool to have a record of myself in this wonderful place doing something that I'm passionate about with others who respect and are grateful for this "super beautiful" place that we have the privilege to inhabit.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see this beautiful place that I call home and the amazing people who are making a difference here on Vancouver Island. Jen did such a beautiful job filming and editing the piece; inspiring. It really just makes you want to go out and clean up a beach doesn't it?

The next big event is INTERNATIONAL SURFING DAY June 20th Paddle Out for Clean Water at Cadboro Bay Beach 10 - 4 p.m. I've got my SUP board reserved - woo hoo! Info on the event HERE
Hopefully there'll be another video to share with you all. Lots of events going on through the day - should be a lot of fun.

I'm so grateful to have gotten a second chance to do all the things that I never got a chance to do the first time around. I dreamed of being a surfer girl when I was a teenager living in southern Ontario. Well, the reality is that my surfing consists, for the most part, of falling off the board into the surf. But, I discovered SUPing (stand up paddle boarding) and the dream lives…a board, the water and a paddle; works for me! Just call me Gidget.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blog Hop - Reality Creation

I entered a blog on AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS but it is one of those that would be suitable here so here it goes…
Go on over to REALITY CREATION to read about a personal dream coming true.

I'm adding this pic as a follow up to the post.

There's a bit of synchronicity here, as I'd said to a group on Saturday, "When I was a girl it was not "normal" for plastic bags to be blowing in the wind from the branches of trees and bushes…" and the very next day there it was. This was in a park not in a parking lot of a mall. Sadly, this isn't an abnormal sight for generations that have come after the boomers.

So, I untangled it and gathered some small bags that were nearby and I'll use it for other litter that I find on my outings cus if I find a bag I have made a pact with myself to do so. Maybe one day bags in trees and bushes will be an abnormal sight - that's a reality I hope to see in my lifetime.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Confessions of a yoga slut

I'm a yoga slut. Ahh. There, I've said it. 

I recently purchased a first-timer's one month's trial membership to a yoga studio. In order to make the most of it, I'm holding on to it while I work on another intro membership deal from a different place. I drop in to yoga classes taught by old friends. Recently I invested in a 12 day punch card special offer at an athletic club gaining full use of facilities + yoga class. And…I'll be seeking out more intro deals, so that I can check out more studios and see what local teachers have to offer.
In the spare room at the  folks place 2010

Such promiscuity! 

I would have never done this in the past. 

For the first 7 years of my practice I was self-taught, drawing from books and TV programs. Gymnastics, or rather the lack of support for the gymnastics program at my high school, brought me to yoga. It was kind of like gymnastics. As I explored all the many different  possibilities that the asanas offered I created my own flow and sessions. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of regular practice saved my life * 

I began to teach others now and then. In those days, if you knew more than the person you were teaching and had a certain amount of confidence pretty much anyone could teach.

I attended my first yoga class with a bunch of middle-aged female yoga teachers in 1975; we were part of the inaugural Sheridan College's Yoga Teachers' Training Program. They welcomed me with open arms and encouraged my aspirations to become a real teacher. I felt a camaraderie with these women.

Over the ensuing years I became part of, and was exclusively loyal (each in their own turn) to 3 different yoga studios.

On a deck at a cabin in the woods
a few summers back, Vermont
My first loyalty was to my fellow Victoria YMWCA yogis (aka Yoga Centre of Victoria), the group that I "grew up" with in yoga, that nurtured me through my early years from 1976 as a novice teacher. Yoga was yoga when I first began but different forms of yoga were becoming standardized through the '80's. Growing pains developed within the yoga community and along with them came politics and power struggles. Our group began to divide into Iyengar and non-Iyengar yogis. Eventually we were expected to declare our loyalty. Though I'd immersed myself in the Iyengar approach, I was quite happy doing other forms as well. It felt very un-yogic to choose one over the other but, reluctantly, I choose. I aligned with the Iyengar group and lost touch with many teachers of other methods.

That was the first and only time that I denied my love for all forms of yoga/asana practice.

When I moved back to Ontario I retreated to the sanctuary of my own practice. The voices of my mentors and peers gradually slipped into the background and the freedom and creativity that initially drew me to yoga re-emerged. It was, surprisingly a lovely time. 

My first foray back into public yoga class took place in a Church gymnasium; so old-school. I welcomed diving into a new form - Ashtanga yoga with its breath based movement. It was a big contrast to the linear and alignment emphasis of the Iyengar method. Iyengar: Ashtanga = ballet: jazz, in my experience. Both are wonderful, very different, complementary forms. 

Soon afterwards, Sue, my inspiring teacher, and her business partner opened up a studio incorporating both Iyengar and Ashtanga under the same roof; unbelievable! I found my second community. And, for a time they thrived alongside each other… and then… they didn't. Split was inevitable.

Meanwhile I resumed teaching but my style, influenced by life experience, some physical set backs and Shiatsu studies, evolved. I had classes in Iyengar influenced yoga, ashtanga yoga and my own fusion - combining Iyengar, ashtanga, tai chi, do-in and meridian stretches. All these approaches fed my body, mind and spirit and I knew some, or all of them, would be a fit for fellow seekers too.

Spare hall at a construction site this year
Campbell River 
I witnessed the torch of yoga being passed down to the next generation when Sue's gifted daughter, Katie, opened up a yoga studio of her own. Once more I found a studio and teacher to love. I enjoyed doing advanced practices alongside her. Her yoga classes "took off", her following grew and the studio moved out of my neighbourhood in order to fulfill the increased demand fuelled by the yoga explosion that was taking place. 

Around this time my body was going through the changes of menopause and a debilitating neck issue flared up. My practice needed to change. No books, nor teachers could guide me. I retreated to my mat once more and drew from the wealth contained in the many approaches I'd practiced as I allowed my body's wisdom to guide me through the adaptations and explorations that it needed.

Over the course of 46 years of practice, I've become more open to embracing the many studios, many teachers and many approaches that thrive nowadays, perhaps because I know from experience that impermanence exists, even in yoga, and that there is wisdom contained in all schools.

Everything changes. 

I've done yoga everywhere. Of course, images promoting yoga show beautiful, long, lean, lithe yoga bodies doing impossibly intricate, challenging and perfect postures on mountaintops, in exotic locations, on deserted beaches; yoga as "lifestyle" has become big business. For most of us yoga is done in the "trenches" of daily life, the non-glam places that you don't see in the glossy mags: hospital and hotel rooms, in airplane and car seats (I'm small), construction sites (during breaks - no saws, drills or dust please), cottage decks and campsites (bugs and bees drop by now and again - some leave their marks), hallways, airports, nooks and crannies in our homes - anywhere a yoga mat will fit. Yes, and in yoga studios and classes too. 

With the kitties Christmas 2012
Burlington, Ontario
But my favourite practice and location goes something like this…It's late morning, mid-day or evening. I'm in my living room, on my mat, in my PJ's (Some of you thought I was going to say in the buff didn't you? Ha, surprise!). My kitties are bathing themselves or sleeping on their "princess" blanket or pillow or crinkly paper beside me or perched on a chair overseeing my practice. Music is playing, or it's not. I embrace the sound of my breath that breaks through: silence, the sound of birds singing, kids yelling or crying crocodile tears as their grand dramas unfold in play outside my door. Light streams in through the glass sliding doors; it's overcast and/or raining; it's dark. It's cold; it's warm. I'm breaking a sweat through vigorous movements and/or I'm chilln' and hanging out in long held asanas. A candle burns, or it doesn't.

From the moment I began my own practice I knew that I'd always have yoga in my life. My practice is a joyful expression of gratitude for those teachers who have come before me. It provides sanctuary, guidance, inspiration and solace during difficult times. 

It is a physical celebration of movement and stillness which transcends the physical. As I practice I give thanks.

When it's really cooking… yoga spills off the mat and into daily existence.

* You can read about this in STORIES FROM THE YOGIC HEART
And…you can get the Kindle version - here at Note: Mine is but one of 27 inspiring stories about how yoga has influenced the lives of famous people and regular types like myself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bag it and Rise Above Plastics

So, I just came from a film screening of BAG IT * hosted by Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island as part of a Rise Above Plastics event.

I've been concerned about the amount of plastic that shows up, well pretty much everywhere, so it's really heartwarming to know that others feel the same as I do and that they are making efforts to make a difference. It's mind-blowing to realize that plastic bags only came into popular usage in the mid '70's and in that short time they've had a disastrous impact on the planet. 

Now here's the fantastic part. The event was originally scheduled to take place at a small venue and go from 6 - 8 p.m. but, about a week ago we got word that it had gotten moved to THE VICTORIA EVENT CENTRE with extended hours - 6 - 10 p.m.; it was that popular - yea!

For a suggested donation of $10 to support Surfrider Vancouver Island for producing the event I could partake of an amazing spread provided by SITKA. Had I known I wouldn't have had that early dinner :-( but there was dessert :-) and it too was amazing.

Surfrider's FB site gave this info
HOST: Bianca Bodley (BIOPHILIA Design Collective)
- Andrew Woodford (MEC)
- Jennifer McKimmie (Niagara Grocery)Ingredients Cafe + Public Market)
- Rene Gauthier (Sitka)
- Jill Doucette (Synergy a Victoria-based organization with a mission to catalyze the green economy joined the panel at the last minute. Her work with local businesses to reach zero waste and carbon neutrality has won numerous awards for innovation and commitment to environmental practice.
Moderated by plastic-free enthusiast Carol-Lynne Michaels.


Take a walk around your neighbourhood today and look around, you will see plastic bottle caps, water bottles and bags somewhere in nature. In the film someone mentions that a particular U.S. state's flower should be the plastic bag as they're found hanging from, or tucked in and amongst, trees and bushes in such great profusion. Sadly, for a whole generation of children this is a common sight; this was not the case for those of us lucky enough to have been born in the '50's. Shamefully our generation is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.

Warning, geezer reflection coming up…
I worked for a natural food store in '80 which started out all natural and organic with items in bins. You brought your own bags and containers - no biggie, and it was wonderful. Then the large grocery chains started to hone in on the action bringing in bins and bulk items and supplying plastic bags and containers in which to put the stuff. In order to compete for the "middle of the roaders" who would be drawn to the full service of the chains and away from the Mom and Pop store, our little natural food store (and the natural food industry in general) found themselves on a slippery slope, bringing in packaged items until the bins got shifted to a smaller and smaller section of the store. Somehow "cross contamination" became a buzz word and plastic containers were stocked for our bulk items; you could no longer supply your own. A mere 35 years later we are trying to dig ourselves out of the mess we've created as careless consumers.

But the event wasn't a downer. I was buoyed up by the enthusiasm of the panel,the audience and the discussion that followed. These are people who cherish the delicate balance of nature, who are doing their best in small ways to make a difference - to be the change that they want to see.

Small ideas can have a great impact - Niagara Grocery's bag exchange program.
The market for reusable bags got flooded pretty quickly - most of us have more than our share of 'em. Now you can bring in your excess reusable cloth and durable plastic reinforced bags. Niagara will use them for those who have forgotten to bring their own bags (we know we've all done this). No single use plastic bags, paper bags or juggling acts needed to carry your groceries unbagged - brilliant!

80% OF THE PLASTIC BAGS THAT END UP IN THE OCEAN COMES FROM A LAND BASED SOURCE   which means that it's made it's way from where it was discarded on land to the ocean. So, in order to keep our shorelines clean we need to address the litter that shows up on our streets, in our parks, on our playgrounds, athletic fields and parking lots.
BIODEGRADABLE, WHEN IT COMES TO PLASTIC BAGS, IS A VERY LOOSE TERM   it may only be photodegradable, which means that it really doesn't bio degrade but instead breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, just a little quicker than other bags but still it lasts forever and contaminates the soil. Only compostable is truly biodegradable. 
- Most recyclable symbols (the arrows) have a number in them. You think they are all recyclable? Think again. Only those numbers 1 or 2 are most likely candidates for recycling. DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE RECYCLABLE SYMBOL - it lulls you into a false sense of satisfaction that you've done your bit for the environment.
- You don't use styrofoam cups anymore - yea! You use paper ones instead - boo! Why? THE INSIDE OF PAPER CUPS IS COATED WITH PLASTIC, SO ISN'T COMPOSTABLE  - duh! Somehow, I didn't really realize that. I had been concerned with the plastic lid that goes with them. One more reason to bring your own mug.


Make a point to say, "no straw" when ordering a drink in a restaurant because the server will automatically bring you one. They may still bring one despite your request, out of habit. If you don't refuse it when it's brought to your table many servers, brainwashed with the fear of "cross contamination" won't take it back even if you assure them you haven't used it. If you must use a straw bring your own - like these in bamboo. You can get them from places such as GOOD PLANET here in Victoria. 

Host a screening of BAG IT at your community or school…
and do a clean-up afterwards.
Check out the details on the BAG IT The Movie 
Here's a personal example of how bad the plastic bag situation is…A WALK IN THE PARK

TODAY IS EARTH DAY - SAY THANK YOU AND SHOW HER YOU LOVE HER… GO FOR A WALK, PICK UP ANY LITTER YOU FIND AND DISPOSE OF IT RESPONSIBLY and remember how amazing and precious this place and the creatures that live on her are!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bye bye "Cousin It"

2 days ago I made the decision to go through with something I'd been thinking about for a few years. I followed through with it today - yea!
My hair has always been one of my best, if not my best, features. Throughout my childhood, Dad worked for the hair products company, LA Jones in Oakville. They manufactured the hair colour line ROUX, various shampoos and conditioners. They had a lab and… a chemist. He'd formulate various concoctions which Dad would bring home for Mom, me and my sisters to try out. 

I don't know whether it's due to those products or genetics but, we all have great hair. 

Mom's was full and thick till the day she died; becoming steel grey as she aged. She always fantasized about visiting Hawaii; never got there. We scattered her ashes in Lake Ontario to join Dad's but I strew some of her locks in various spots on the Big Island of Hawaii, and now her genes rest there too. 

My older sister's dark brown hair was smooth and shiny and so strong that it could hold the pencils I put in the curl of the flip she sported throughout high school. She, like me, began to turn grey quite early in life. But her hair was a stunning true grey which highlighted her darker complexion, thick dark brows, lush eyelashes and deep-blue "Betty Davis" eyes. She later dyed her short hair, exploring: auburn, blonde, highlights and lowlights (as I once did) opting for the more youthful look it imparts.

My younger sister's blonde, unbroken, split end-less, hair is more resistant to the greying process and so thick it could choke a horse! She kept it long throughout high school (as did I) but surrendered that look in university opting for sporty, shorter cuts. She's flirted with the idea of growing it, beyond the bob, but I suspect that the sheer weight of it and the time it would take to dry would be daunting.

From short to long - except for shaving my head - I've tried it all. Yes, even the mullet…cutting my own hair to maintain that horrendous look, and NO you are not going to see it here. But people remember me mostly as the woman with "the hair". Long and chestnut coloured as a teenager, young adult and again (with some assistance) in my early '40's; long and predominantly grey these past few years. 

I gave up the fight against going grey years ago. The henna that I'd preferred began to give my hair a strange orange hue due to the increasing percentage of grey. Home tinting jobs ceased to do the trick convincingly for that same reason. Professionally done highlights and lowlights became the best solution as they blended with the roots that showed through within the first week (my hair grows fast). 

But, I'm lazy and cheap. Could I let it go grey?

In the beginning of the greying process my hair was just washed out, colourless, neither dark nor fully grey. That's when the high and low lights eased the transition; got me used to seeing lighter hair against my face. It allowed me to see when the true, fully grey colour was coming through and dominating. Once that happened I was ready to let it take over.

I grew my hair and wondered just how long it could get? During menopause, shoulder-length was about it before the ends would break. However, these last few years it's grown like a weed! And I've enjoyed it.

But, it's taken over. I've felt less like me and more the "woman with the hair". Kinda what I suspect having a parasitic twin could feel like. It's there all the time, you can't hide it. People give you second looks. They comment on it. "Wow, you've got great hair" they've shouted to me from across the street. It's all the more impressive because I'm short and it's unusual to see someone my age with long hair. 

I've lavished a lot of tender care and attention to maintaining it…too much. I'm surprised that flipping the hair from one side to the other in my sleep each time I turn over hasn't given me whiplash. Constantly having it in a ponytail to get it out of the way takes away from the purpose of having it long. Freeing it from back packs, shoulder-bag straps, chairs in restaurants and movie theatres has become a common occurrence. The weight of it and the slightly "cousin IT" appearance I've taken on when it's down (see first picture) isn't the sexy image the idea of long hair promises, at least not for 4' 10" me. My obsession with it has become tedious, it's like being in a high maintenance relationship.

So I chopped it off. Well technically that's not correct…thanks to Allexys Peterson at Sigma Squared Salon in Victoria for giving me such a great cut and taking the before and after pics.

Now, I haven't been thinking about chopping it off for years but, I have been thinking that when I did, I'd donate it to a good cause.

Weird note: I'm stunned by the variety of colours this swatch of hair contains: dark brown, reddish-brown, even blonde, along with the grey. Though the overall effect is grey, you can see it's much more than that!

So basically I chopped off most of my non-grey hair.

There are many great causes out there for making wigs for people with alopecia, kids programs and older people with grey hair.

I'm very happy to have achieved this goal as I didn't have the patience to hang on for the extra inches the last time I cut it, nor the daring to go quite this short. It helped that I knew, from the last cut Allexys gave me, that she'd do a great job.

I'm donating mine, mailing it later today with the aid of the label they supply online to print out and use, to the Canadian Cancer Society. Click on this link to get info about what they need, preparing the hair and making the cut. Most salons are familiar with the process.

NOTE: some organizations don't take grey hair and some prefer that the hair isn't braided - check this out before you send it off.

And so I leave you today, lighter in body, mind and spirit. I think I'll go outside and let my short, greyer hair blow in the wind.

I actually began writing this yesterday - so today is day 2 of my new cut.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


My sister-in-law posted on FB a picture of one of the Minions from Despicable Me saying, "Just once in my life I'd actually like to see a liar's pants catch on fire."

Loved it!

But then I got to thinking…we'd all be running around like human torches, hurling ourselves into rivers, streams and oceans to douse the flames. The intensity of the fires and the steam rising from buttocks being extinguished would contribute substantially to global warming.

We all lie from time to time but, what makes a lie become a truth.

© Nance Thacker 1990
I found a pile of roughed cartoons and I'm in the process of inking them.
We've all had them, those holidays from hell. Nothing goes in our favour. It's nobody's fault. Or, maybe we've slipped into a frustration induced, period of incompatibility with our travel companions and we're ready to strangle each other. We simmer and seethe for the duration of our return trip home. 

If there is any effort to converse at all, all that passes for conversation is "Humpf" or "What - e - ver" - delivered with "tsk", sigh and eye roll for maximum effect. If you, like me, are of the white Anglo Saxon persuasion then the WASP fight consisting of deafening silence is most likely to be your choice.

What a waste of money THAT trip was! you're all thinking.

But once we're back home, ask us how our trip was and, dollars to donuts, you'll hear, "great"… "good"… or at the very least "OK".

What's happened here? Is it taboo to admit we've had a shitty time? Are we averse to sounding like whiners? If we tell the flat out truth that, "The f***ing trip was f***ing horrible", does it make us sound ungrateful for the opportunity that we've had to even have had a shitty vacation? After all some people never get away anywhere and here we are complaining. What nerve! 

Do we play the consensual game wherein holiday = great time, so we try to keep up with, or even surpass, the Joneses with tales of great adventures that all would envy? In my younger days, before I'd experienced any intimate relationships, I seriously believed (because they made it sound so romantic) that every holiday any couple I ever knew had been on, was INCREDIBLE!  

OK, so I was a bit naive. One of the big attractions of being "in a relationship" was to share in travelling adventures like…well, like Jonathan and Jennifer Hart in that TV show HART TO HART (that ran from 1979 - 1984). Maybe solve a crime or two along the way; not criminally offend the consensual code with a shitty experience.

Jonathan and Jennifer Hart gasp in horror at the very idea
that their trip could be anything other than fabulous
What if we're not glossing over our difficulties at all? Somehow the good times (as meagre as they may be) have risen like cream to the top. We scrape off these stories, embellish their magnificence, and with each re-telling our belief in the truth of we had a great time becomes so increasingly strong that it comes to embody the essence of our whole experience.

Is it a mark of resilience or a default mechanism that our inner Jonathans and Jennifers survive un-singed, bonded more deeply, and ready to tackle yet more adventures?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yea, it's National ________ Day!

Wow, I don't know about you but I'm exhausted! Face Book (aka FB) has opened up a whole new world to me. I have connected with long lost university housemates, promoted my dream classes and workshops on my FB site AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS, most recently my class on CONSCIOUS DREAMING - Dreaming Story on my events page, shared posts of social importance, and participated in many lively, and (mostly inane) debates just between old friends. And, don't get me started on how seriously I take my responsibility to pass on videos: extolling cat love, cute animal "aw" inducing tales, and those inspiring sagas of interspecies couplings…yes, why can't we be more tolerant, accepting, and loving, just like them?

But…that's not all FB has to offer me.

No sir-eee!

How could I not know that the world is full of amazing celebrations, and I'm invited? Celebrations, that were heretofore only enjoyed by a very exclusive set, are (with a few exceptions) now open to one and all; we're all invited. That means you too!

Why, just a few weeks ago, it was National Friendship Week, which occurs pretty much every few months. Then there was National Crochet Your Chicken a Sweater Week, I could barely contain my enthusiasm for that one. I swear I could hear the yarn spinning through the hooks and smell the smoke coming off of them, due to the world-wide frenzy that ensued.

National Left-handers Day gave some of you "righties" a well deserved break, but not me. This southpaw partied like there was no tomorrow, displaying her sinistral skills to the amazement, nay, astonishment of envious right-handers who had the good fortune to gaze upon her. I had to resort to using my right hand for days afterwards…but since I'm fairly ambidextrous it's not such a big deal. Say, there must be a day for ambidextrites (is that a word?) too!

It seemed that there was no let-up in sight as just yesterday I was told that…Today is National Short Girl Appreciation Day. Which brings back, ah yes, such joyous memories.

© Nance Thacker 1984

Why are tall men and short women attracted to each other? I've had tall boyfriends. One was 6 feet tall (182.88 cm) ; another 6 foot 4 inches tall (193.04 cm). For all intents and purposes, I'm 4'10" (177.8 cm) - actually 4 foot, nine and ¾ inches to be exact but let's just round that up. Hmm…I just found out that I qualify as a very tall "little" person… there's the internet for you.

Anyway, I got caught up in the attraction thing for a while but I found out that it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. One day, I caught sight of the reflections of Mr 6'4" walking hand in hand with Ms 4 foot 9 and ¾ inches in a store window. With my elbow bent at an awkward angle and dangling above my shoulder it looked like it he had custody for the day and was taking his kid out (I looked way younger than my years back then).

But dancing? That's the worst! Have you ever had to endure a full dance being carried around the dance floor? Well, I have. Then there was the guy I met at a university dance, held in the residence hallway, who spent the whole night on his knees so that we could converse eye to eye. He later danced with me while on his knees. I knew that, that relationship would last only as long as his knees could hold out.

But, my all time favourite was the guy with weak abs, that thought the best way to deal with the situation was to lean his full weight over and onto my shoulders. As the music droned on and on, his core gave out, I felt like a participant in the dance marathon from the scene in *THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?

O.K. maybe I'm being a little bit overdramatic…but, now that I have someone with whom I can dance, with my head resting on his shoulder…after such traumatic experiences if he threatens to take me in his embrace for a dance, I'll wrestle him to the floor.

*       *       *

* On a serious note THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY is a very good movie about the dance marathon craze in the '20's and '30's. My Mom was a kid then and she remembered hearing about such events being held during the "dust bowl" days in the USA. As I understand it, people would compete because they got food and lodging during the competition, they achieved a little bit of fame, and the cash rewards for the winners were relatively substantial.
"It seems unbelievable now but there were once fifteen thousand people – promoters, emcees, floor judges, trainers, nurses, cooks, janitors, cashiers, ticket-takers, publicity agents, promotion men, musicians, contestants and even a lawyer – whose main source of income over a number of years came from endurance shows." High Times Hard Times, Anita O'Day, pg. 34.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ack, say it isn't so

I'm reading Amanda Palmer's THE ART of ASKING and it's taking me down memory lane. Parallels of her life's experience collide with my earlier life as a struggling cartoonist/yoga teacher/artists' model/house-sitter living in Victoria in the early '80's.

What resonates most for me right now is her struggle to accept help offered in monetary form. I suspect that if you have never been an artist you might have difficulty understanding this particular challenge especially when the whole point of being a "professional" artist is to make your living at it.

The thing is, I (like Amanda) needed help along the way and often it was given. I couldn't afford rent above the $50 that I was paying for my studio space at Xchanges Gallery so I became a house sitter. Many people provided a haven for me between house-sits letting me stay on in a spare room, or couch surf, after they'd returned from their trips. My great friend, confidante and fellow aspiring artist, Bud even house-sat for friends in the country (despite the fact that they really didn't have need of his services) so that I could house-sit for him as I was about to become homeless.

One day I would be a paid cartoonist; able to "pay my own way" using my artistic skills which to me meant having that money go into "my" bank account. When I was in my early twenties I vowed that I'd never get into a committed relationship until I could pay my own way…but fate had other plans.

My father, when he realized that his 34 year old daughter was, seriously, getting married, overturning her heretofore repeated protestations that she'd never get married because she didn't want her "wings clipped", took my intended aside with this advice for matrimonial harmony… "Don't try and make a nine to fiver out of her, it'll never happen." He took Dad's advice and we're still together.

I eventually packed in my aspirations as a cartoonist, and all the associated jobs that I required to support my chosen "profession", and took up what I thought would be a much more profitable profession and still give me the freedom that I required. I became s a Shiatsu Therapist…and I still couldn't pay my own way. Like many alternative health practitioners, I was able to practice only because my work was supported… by my husband.

A fellow therapist said that though she didn't make much money she and her husband felt that she was gaining them financial karmic points. As a result of her services, his business was thriving. Their businesses were intimately linked, not through word of mouth, but rather, her good vibes were drawing clients to him.

I tried that concept on for size as my husband's business did thrive…but I couldn't make it stick.

I tried different venues for my work, added Certified Hypnotist to the mix and threw up a shingle offering hypnosis and Shiatsu in a medical aesthetics clinic in East Oakville, on the "other side" of the creek in my hometown.

This was surreal! If ever there was a fish out of water, it was me.

The women were welcoming and lovely…beautiful, actually…and well turned out, confident and successful. All the things that I was not. I was, as Palmer often judged herself…a fraud. But, I could and would, make this work.

I won't say that things went swimmingly. I spent more time hanging out in a cubicle near the receptionists desk, setting up this blog, than in my own treatment room. I  heard prospective clients interviewed over the phone, shying away from the perfectly effective Shiatsu and hypnosis, opting instead for the insurance coverage of massage therapy and psychotherapy.

Some days no one came into my treatment room but they flocked in for medical aesthetics procedures, massage, psychotherapy - ca ching, ca ching.

My soul was slowly bleeding. I swore I wouldn't supplement my work here with the meagre profits from the home based practice that I still maintained. This vow I kept. The next rent increase was beyond my limit and I was out before a year had gone by. But, let's go back to the early days…

Once the "team" got established the owner/operator put on a pot luck celebration to kick off our venture. I couldn't go. How could I go to the other side of the creek? I didn't fit in…but you can fake it. Haven't you been doing that all the time you've lived in Oakville? 

So, I psyched myself up and went. Surely you can do it for just one night!

"Guess what everyone, I'm treating us all to a psychic! Isn't that great?" our host excitedly announced as we sat down to share our culinary delights.

Everyone was thrilled…but me. I'm going to be busted, I know it.

What were people going to ask about? Money, business ventures, relationships, children; the usual stuff. Each came away from their 15 minutes glowing with reports of success, success, success, success.

And then it was my turn…

I walked in; my spirit trudged in. She asked for my hand and I put my hand in hers. "What do you want to know?"

"Will my business be financially successful?"

And, this is what she said…

© Nance Thacker 2015
"You will always have enough. You know from past experience that you've been supported. You REALLY aren't striving for the same things the others are, are you? You never have. You have always been supported as payment for what you do for others."


When asked how it went, I said with a nod, "Great!" And, I think once I got over the initial shock, I meant it. She was right…but I still struggle to accept this from time to time.

NOTE: This is my first strip cartoon in 24 years - WOW
Something I read in Palmer's book yesterday triggered the bit and it wouldn't leave me alone.
"All right, already"
I dug out my old boards and erased an uninked, unfinished rough (found a stash of drawn but unlinked strips that I'd forgotten about) and drew this new one today. 
Amazing! I can draw, ink, take a photo, upload it onto the computer AND get it out into cyberspace all in one day; incredible!
So, it's going on for 2 a.m. (Don't believe the time stamp, still can't figure out how to adjust it to PST. If anybody knows how to do this let me know.)
Can I go to bed now?
Nothing, I think that's a yes.

Sat Jan 17th 4:00 - Just had to pop in again and thank all those who have supported me, and continue to do so, all those years. I truly am deeply grateful.