Saturday, October 31, 2009

The in between time

The end of October and early November is a strange in-between time. The night comes earlier and the dark lasts way into the morning before the end-of-the month time change.  I have to admit that Halloween is my most un-favourite holiday.  I don't like the dark and the wind, and I'm unsettled by the energy of people dressed in strange costumes.  Then comes November, truly a dreary month in the Pacific Northwest, with its narrowing down of light and the prospect of months of greyness ahead.

Now that we're retired from regular employment we're able to head south to avoid the cold and the greyness.  This will be the third winter we've spent time in Mexico and I'm looking forward to it.  But I'm also feeling nostalgic about the fall.  I'm savouring this time with the brilliant leaves and I'm even enjoying the rain and clouds.  There is so much to do to disentangle from my life over the past nine months that I'm feeling a little paralyzed.   It's as if I'm suspended  between two different lives right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall is for organizing and packing

Now that my event is finished I'm transferring my energies to the next task:  getting ready for our winter trip to Mexico.  We're leaving the middle of November to drive south to Mazatlan, where we've rented a house for the months December through March.  We have people staying in our house while we're away so there's a lot of packing up and cleaning to do before we leave, as well as packing for our trip with both the dogs.  This will be the third winter we've spent some time in Mexico, but this year will be the longest time away.  I'm really enjoying fall (out of the corner of my eye) as I begin the job of organizing my house and packing up.

These are tomatillos from a little plant I put in the garden in the spring.  They're actually quite good, especially in salsa.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A big success

Friday night was an amazing experience.  We had over 200 people come out to experience the love and support of the spirit guides.  Six different guides came through and about 35 people asked questions.  For many it was the first time they'd been in the presence of spirit guides and they were very moved by the experience.  The three of us who've been working for the past month to plan and pull this all together just sailed through the evening, not letting our nervousness affect our performance.  In fact, we weren't even that nervous once things started.  I know we had a lot of help and support from people around us and from the other side.  I'd call it a big success.  

Today and tomorrow I'll be wrapping up the final details.  Then it's on to new adventures.  I wish I had a photo to post but Harry used my camera to take a movie and I can't seem to find a way to transfer any image from it to my computer. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Standing up for what I believe

Standing up for what you believe--it doesn't sound that hard to do, does it?  That is, until your beliefs stray in the woo-woo realm.  I've been involved in spiritual thinking and searching for meaning in life beyond the parameters of conventional religion for decades now.  But I've always been very careful who I talk to about my beliefs in reincarnation and the spirit guides. 

I'm actually quite a scientific and pragmatic person.  I don't take things on faith; I look for proof and can be quite a skeptic about some things.  But my experiences with Jane and her channeling of spirit guides has convinced me that this is the real deal.  What I've learned through these beings has resonated in the deepest part of my being.

I don't really like the label "new age" and I'm not really into crystals or homeopathy or astrology or any of those things--although I respect others' interests and beliefs in these things.  Just as I respect people's belief in an all-powerful, all-seeing God, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or Jesus, or any number of spiritual leaders that this earth has seen. But for me all of these belief systems with their rules and creeds seem kind of narrow.

So I've kept my beliefs to myself for a long time, but now it's time to go public.  I don't feel like hiding a part of myself any more.  I think it's odd that mainstream religions can talk about their beliefs in bodies ascending to heaven, or gods with six arms, or the rapture, but my sense of having helpers in spirit and coming back to this earth to continue learning and growing makes me "a flake."  Recently I've had a hard time getting our posters for our spirit guides event put up around town.  Also I'm seeing a lot of them taken down, and one was even set on fire.

I understand that some people have rigid ideas about how things are and should be, and that some people are less respectful of others beliefs than I am.  And I'm ok with that, especially since as balance I've also found some wonderful support and interest in these ideas from different areas.  We invited a writer with a local newspaper to meet her spirit guides and she wrote a glowing article about our upcoming evening.  I wish I could post a link but it's not online anywhere, just in a weekly newspaper.  Our ticket sales have really picked up this week and we'll probably end up being about half full tomorrow, which will be just fine.

Tonight Jane and I will stand up in front of an audience and speak again about our understandings and we'll offer people an opportunity to experience the love and support that's there for them form spirit companions.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just two more days

The big event that we've been planning for the past six weeks is almost here.  We're getting everything ready to take to the stage in the David Lam Auditorium and invite the spirit guides to speak through Jane on Friday evening.  It will be a first for us and we don't really know what to expect.  Because Jane can bring through many different guides we have no idea who will be speaking.  We will be inviting people in the audience to ask questions of the guides that come through, but we don't know what topics they will bring up.  So the whole shape of the evening is an unknown.  I've been working with Jane for 25 years and I've never seen the channeling fail so I trust that someone will come through and speak, but aside from that I don't know how things will unfold.   

If you're interested in what some of the guides have said in the past, you can go to our Dialogue with Spirit Guides blog.  People have been posting questions and we've been given answers by some spirit guides for about two years now.  It's quite an interesting place to visit.  Well, I think so but then I'm immersed in this work so what do I know?

It's kind of scary inviting people to sit and watch an experiment onstage.  However, I know that the evening will be what it will be and all we are doing is creating the space for something wonderful to happen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Too much temptation

I don't buy cookies.  And especially not chocolate mint sandwich cookies covered with chocolatey coating.  Except when they're brought to my door by three adorable little girls in girl guide uniforms.  It's my downfall.  How can you say no to those eager faces, or to the mother who is chaperoning them around the dark neighbourhood just after dinner time? 

So of course I bought a box.  Just one box.  They'll be nice to have with tea after dinner, right?  Well, yes!  But also after lunch, and with a glass of milk in the afternoon, and it's nice to have something to nibble on while at the computer....  You know how it goes. 

We've had the box less than 24 hours and this is what's left! 

That's why I don't buy cookies. 

PS:  I'm not even going to look at the ingredient list for these cookies.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Canteloupe and shadows

I thought I'd post this canteloupe shadow shot--just for fun.  I can't really tell you why this appeals to me so much.  It's probably more the colours than the shadows, although I think they add to the composition.  You can find more shadows every Sunday at Hey Harriet's blog.  Check it out. It's incredible the variety of shadows to see there.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I've just been introduced to the poetry of Billy Collins.  Maybe I'm the only one in North America who hasn't heard of him as he's apparently America's most popular poet.  I enjoy poetry although I'm only now starting to search some out after being introduced on various blogs.  In any case, this poem made me laugh--and cringe--at the same time.


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Friday, October 16, 2009

From vine to jar

The other day we made grape jelly from the grapes growing on the arbour outside the kitchen window.  We planted these grapes not for the fruit but for the privacy factor offered by the vigourous leaves.  A side benefit this year though was a bumper crop of grapes.  I think these are reisling grapes but since we leave it to the wine makers to do the winemaking honours we decided to try making a grape jelly.

 Now I've made jam for years from blackberries, plum, strawberries etc., but jelly making was a bit of a mystery to me.  No more.  It's actually very easy.  The only difference is that you first cook the crushed fruit and then strain it through a jelly bag to get the clear juice needed to make the jelly.


 We started out using a cloth bag suspended from the cupboard but since we were making more than one batch I went out and purchased the jelly strainer.  It worked beautifully.

After just a couple of hours of work this is what we produced.  Seventeen jars of beautiful grape jelly.  And it tastes delicious.  I think we'll be making this an October ritual in years to come.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

M is for Mohita

We have a special spot in our hearts for Mohita--our ancient trusty motorhome.  We bought her about five years ago to take a road trip to Mexico and we've spent many months camping all over three countries.  She's kind of clunky and old fashioned but she's taken us on roads from Northern Vancouver Island, east to Nebraska and south as far as Patzcuaro in Michoacan, Mexico.   She's over 30 years old and still going strong, although we've had to do quite a few repairs while on the road.  That's all part of the adventure.

Here are a few photos taken on trips.  At the top she's posed in front of red cliffs in Utah.  Below in a Walmart parking lot in Eureka Oregon during an ice storm, in a courtyard in Guymas Mexico, parked on the street in Missoula Montana, and beside a beautiful Wyoming river.  We love this old girl.

To see more M posts this week, take a peek here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Two lakes

 It has been just beautiful for the past couple of days:  golden sun and cool air.  We've snatched some hours to take the dogs for a walk at a couple of local lakes.  One is Beaver Lake just down the hill from where we live; the other is Durrance Lake out in the hills behind Victoria.  Here are some photos from our walks.  I just love the way the blue of the sky is reflected in the lakes.  The lakes have very different characters but both are just incredibly lovely.  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Promotion blues

I don't know how I ended up being a promoter because I'm really quite shy and retiring.  But somehow I'm running around promoting two events at one time.  The first one is an evening I'm putting on with a couple of friends, one of whom is a psychic channeler.  For more than 20 years I've worked with Jane as she offers people individual channeled sessions with their spirit guides.  It's been low key work as clients come via word of mouth and we only make a small number of appointments usually in the fall and winter.  But somehow this year we've decided to put on a major event where Jane will channel for a larger group. We've booked an auditorium at the university and invited people to come to a big group session we're calling Dialogue with Spirit Guides.  We booked a 300 seat auditorium and we've printed tickets and posters and handbills, put a small announcement in a weekly paper and I've written and sent out a press release.

But I'm beginning to think we may have overestimated the interest in such an event because as of today we've sold just over 50 tickets.  There are still two weeks to go and we're kind of out of ideas (and budget) about how to promote this event.  At this point I'm reduced to stapling little notices on telephone poles and crossing my fingers.

The other event is sponsored by the dog owners organization I'm involved with.  We're bringing in a dog expert to give a talk one night and two workshops the following day.  She's not well known here in Victoria so we're working to get some excitement going about this event as well.  I'm not so worried about this one because it doesn't happen until the end of November and we're easily able to identify our target audience--because they walk around attached to dogs by leashes.

But the Dialogue with Spirit Guides is an unknown. Jane thinks we'll sell out and I admire her trust.  Me, I'm not so sure.  Guess I'll just have to keep running around with my notices and my stapler, try not to worry -- and see what happens.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A little blog break

I'm taking a blog break for a few days to catch up on things that piled up while we were away.  That and preparations for a Thanksgiving dinner plus organizing an event that I'll talk about later are keeping me very busy.  Meanwhile I'm also enjoying seeing trees and ocean again after our trip into the prairie lands.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shadows in the landscape

Having just returned from over two weeks driving across the north western part of the US (Washington to Nebraska and back), my mind is still full of images of the wide-open landscape.  Here are a few shadow shots from this trip.  More shadow shots can be found here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Along the Oregon Trail


It turns out that all the way back from Kearney Nebraska we've been following pretty closely the Oregon Trail.  This is the route taken by about 500,000 people between 1842 and 1862 to get from Missouri to Oregon City (just south of today's Portland).  Along the way we've had glimpses and sensations about this trek but today it all coalesced.  This morning we stopped at a little state park in Oregon called Farewell Bend.  This is the spot where the travelers, who had been following the Snake River for over 300 miles through Idaho, left the river and traveled overland for 70 miles to reach the Columbia.  At this park there were some original covered wagons and I was blown away by how small they were.

They are not the big Connestoga wagons from the movies.  These are tiny, measuring perhaps six feet in width and ten feet in length.  Most of the travelers walked behind the wagons, which were pulled by mules or oxen.  The wagons held all their worldly goods and the people trudged behind and slept in tents. The hardships faced by these people were incredible, and included cholera, starvation, sickness from bad water, as well as the usual accidents like drowning, falling, and injuries.  About one in ten didn't make it. 

Apparently the trail was littered with graves of those who succumbed, as well as dead oxen and the discards of items like stoves, dishes, furniture and food supplies that made the wagons too heavy.  When they came to a river they would have to caulk the wagons with tar and float them over or build a raft and many people lost their lives at the river crossings.  (This is the Snake River at Farewell Bend.)

We learned all this and more at excellent Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre up on a hill outside of Baker City, Oregon.  This hill was the first place the travelers set eyes on a great flat basin with the Blue Mountains behind it and it marked the end of the desert and the beginning of Oregon Country (or the promised land.)

We could look down on the actual ruts left by the wagons.  The journey had taken them the better part of six months, walking across the desolate plains and the high plateaus, through canyons and rivers.  It's an amazing testament to the tenacity and hopefulness of these people.  I have loved learning more about this piece of history.

This afternoon we drove into Washington and through some beautiful agricultural country.

Tonight we're in Yakima and tomorrow we'll head for Seattle and home.