Saturday, December 29, 2012


You know you're in for a long bus ride when the the (wo)man who's about to sit next to you on the Greyhound hacks up a lung and then says "Don't worry, I'm not contagious" in a phlegm-riddled voice. "Heather" had the body of a woman, the face and voice of a 50-something man, and a cough that was terrifying to hear.  But the plus side was that she (?) and I were on an express bus from Kelowna to Vancouver with no stops in suburbia along the way. We actually arrived in the city almost two hours ahead of schedule; so early that I couldn't raise my mother on the phone (she's a bit cel-phone challenged, and it often sits, forgotten, in her purse, which is where it was tonight as I tried to contact her many many times), and so I took a cab home instead of getting a ride with mom.
It's good to be back in my sitting room with my spiky Charlie-Brown Christmas tree. I bought myself a few belated-Christmas treats tonight: a little yet powerful laptop speaker, some warm socks, a box of hair colour... gonna see in the new year with no roots showing, dammit! It was a good year for prezzies: mom gave me some money (yay!) and a juicer, which I am going to start using right quick, as the Christmas indulgence has taken its toll and the scales are telling me it's time to EAT LESS. Dad continued a fine Christmas tradition we started last year: he waited until I was in Kelowna and then took me to buy a pair of boots. Boots are a fetish of mine (I seldom wear shoes, actually) and I can't really afford them and Boxing Day usually produces some great bargains... Last year I got some fabulous red boots, but this year I needed some practical, comfy everyday walking boots. I got these:
I LOVE Keen boots! And these are as comfy as they look...
He also gave me a mandoline, which was a cast-off gift, because it was in his kitchen and he wasn't using it and I was like "I wanna make more salads this year!" It has a safety handle thingy, but I have already managed to julienne my thumbnail with it. However if I master it, I will have many thinly-sliced vegetables in my future.
Christmas was a little dull this year, I have to admit. Christmas Eve rocked, because I spent it with my mom, and we had a lot of fun. We went to the Christmas Jazz Vespers at a big church downtown in the afternoon and then we ate Beef in Guinness sauce at her place with her roomie, her eccentric cougar millionaire friend S, and her lonely and rather wistful friend Q. It was better than it sounds, trust me. Then I went caroling in West Van with some friends late at night and had a couple hours' sleep at my mom's before getting on the Greyhound to see my dad.
Unfortunately, his ladyfriend, L, was really sick with a nasty ear infection. PLUS my brother and his wife hadn't made it out of Vancouver because they needed to rent an SUV to make the trip, and there were none left. So we didn't really do... anything. In the past we've visited neighbours or stayed at home and drank too much wine or went skating on the pond down the street... but there is definitely a critical mass of people and wine that must be reached before fun and shenanigans can happen. And we didn't reach it this year. My dad and I are very similar in some ways, but for whatever reasons, we don't really click. Without my brother there, it was pretty quiet. Oh, and his dog had died last spring, so the house seemed very big and quiet. I often found my dad's dog really annoying, but it wasn't the same without him trying to eat all the Christmas food. I just don't feel as if I can be myself with my dad,  and I don't have much to say to him. So we watched a lot of Netflix and tv, ate too much, and went for a couple of bracing walks while his girlfriend suffered through her ear infection. So as I mentioned, I am happy to be home! Better luck next year.
Boring Christmas aside, I have been feeling pretty good lately. Acupuncture seems to be helping my mood, and even those painful acupressure seeds in my ear seemed to be effective, if annoying. Tomorrow night I am off to see Gogol Bordello at the Commodore, which I am very psyched about! I saw those guys years ago in Seattle and I am thrilled to see them again. I still have another week to go before school starts up again, and I plan to enjoy my last days of freedom to the max. My next mission is to find something cheap and fun to do on New Year's Eve, something involving music and dancing. I am damned if I'm going to start 2013 in a boring way!
Happy Christmas and New Year to all of you. May your year start any way you want it to! Love and peace and creativity and fun to all. xo

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

13 Things That Were Great About Today... and 1 not-so-great thing

  1. I called my sweetheart this morning while I was still lying in bed. I love doing this.
  2. He mentioned that it was "all white" where he was. I got up and drifted over to the sitting room and lo! It was snowy where I was, too! Have I mentioned how much I love snow? Especially before and around Christmas?
  3. My marks are in, and my lowest grade at the end of this term is a B+ (one class). All the rest are A's, A+'s or A-'s. Yes!
  4. I actually went to my local library today...
  5. ...where I ran into my musician friend Dave. Thereby assuring that there will be some kind of giggery or jammery in my future...
  6. and I also now have a whole bunch of interesting books to read and movies to watch. For free. Love the library!
  7. I dropped my stuff off at the laundromat, so now I have clean sheets and clothes.
  8. I had the bright idea of calling my mom, so I had company for a great walk. Up the hill into Burnaby Heights, stopping in at all the interesting-looking delis and butchers and bookshops.
  9. She was looking for some green peppercorns in brine, which I'd never heard of before. (Unless they were the famed "pickled peppers" that Peter Piper picked a peck of). And we were in one of those great stores that just has everything packed away on its teetering shelves, a fabulous mess of middle eastern and Italian and god-knows-what and I looked down and... voila. 
  10. I asked at my favorite bookstore if they were hiring. And they ARE. And they have a giant cat. I have always wanted to work at a store with a cat.  So I might actually have some work for the new year.
  11. We got back to my place after a 2-hour walk and made potato pancakes as well as chorizo sausages and sweet-sour cucumbers, accompanied by applesauce and sour cream. You know when a meal is actually all that you hope it will be? Yes.
  12. This teapot. Which I bought at my favorite restaurant in the little town I live in all summer. So not me, with its flowers and froufrou. But somehow it pleases me deeply. It has cherries for feet! How great is that?  I am drinking orange spice tea out of it right now.
  13. It is almost 7pm and I have a pile of new books to look at and movies to watch. How nice. 
  1. My acupuncturist put some auricular acupressure beads into my left ear. Three of them. They're supposed to help with my foot and back pain and with calming thoughts. I'm supposed to rub them 3-4 times a day. But they hurt. A lot. Not only when I touch them but when I try to:
  • wear a hat
  • use my headphones
  • lie on my left side to sleep
  • ...and when I'm just sitting there minding my own business.
Given that my back gets sore when I lie on it, it seems rather cruel that yet another option (sleeping on my left side) has been taken away, at least for the next few days. Plus, how am I supposed to have happy thoughts when my damn ear hurts all the time? Has anyone else tried these? Are they supposed to hurt this much??

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Walk

It's amazing how few walks I've been on this year. School and work will do that to you, I guess. Last year I was short on employment and new to this neighbourhood, so I did quite a lot of exploring. Not so much this year. However, I was getting a bit stir-crazy after being sidelined with the flu for the last 5 days. It wasn't raining and I needed a change of scene.
I did what I often do in my 'hood: I headed north.  There is a park with a spectacular northern view of the water. But there's also a cool sneak-peak view of water and port in this direction (west-ish).
 A beautiful hospice sits in the centre of this park, which is a little unusual, but there's plenty of room for park, hospice, playground, daycare to rub shoulders. If I was on the way out, I wouldn't mind spending my last days at this hospice, overlooking the north shore. However, even though flu can make you feel like death, I'm not ready to turn up my toes quite yet. Look, I don't even look too awful in this shot! The flu must be subsiding!
 There are little parks inserted all the way along Wall Street, so passers-by can hang over the fence and gulp down views like this:

 How considerate, and what great city planning. In one of the mini-parks, there's a bridge, so you could conceivably walk across the train tracks and down to the water. But although it's inviting, there's also a sign that forbids actual use of the bridge unless you're a "Port Pass" holder. It's my major beef with this part of the waterfront: the Port of Vancouver doesn't like trespassers, so most of the waterfront has a very "look but don't touch" quality, which is too bad. If they weren't so uptight, you could get a lot closer to the water, and cycle or walk from New Brighton Park all the way to downtown.
Don't cross this bridge when you come to it!

 It was kind of a short walk. because I'm still easily tired. Honestly, I feel like such a wimp right now! Sore back, sore foot, fluish...  (I'm being proactive though- weekly acupuncture and a trip to my GP tomorrow.) On my way home, I glanced down the street at the water and noticed this lovely view:
The setting sun making the sides of these tankers glow!
Then I continued home, along one special street that always goes crazy with the Christmas decorations. There was no Goaltending Owl of Christmas this year, and that's a little sad. But there were already some very creative decorations:
And now I'm back at home, with my Charlie Brown Christmas tree glowing gently in the corner of the sitting room.
It's so adorable. And it gives me candy canes!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Wow, so most of the time I think I have this invincible body but if the last little while has shown me anything, it's that things have a way of catching up with you eventually... and also that if your partner has a little kid, they're going to catch all kinds of bugs in school, and then HE will, and then YOU will!
But it's been kind of a sweet enforced rest period for the last few days for both of us: rest, eat, rest, watch movie, rest... I typed "reset" instead of "rest" there, and indeed that's what it feels like. Resetting. I feel very lucky that we both had a few days there to relax utterly and let this illness do its thing. I've read three James Bond books. Drank more lemon-and-honey than I thought possible. Had a lot of great conversations and listened to tons of music. So although my body is not so great, my spirit feels considerably better than it did last week.
Here's hoping the rest of the Christmas break is just as relaxing, but minus the flu symptoms.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I went to an acupuncturist yesterday and all the while she put needles into my back and feet and arms I felt bubbly, almost euphoric, as I lay face-down on her table. I probably looked like a giggly porcupine. Then she stuck glass jars all over my back (it's called "cupping") and it felt like being attacked by an octopus. I floated home on a cloud of bliss; I was in love with the whole world.
Today, the flipside. I wake up feeling as though an army of dwarves has pummeled me while I slept. I am sore, and sad. I have jar-shaped hickeys all over my back. The acupuncturist, who had a lovely Columbian accent, reminded me that "your issues are in your tissues", a saying which I found delightful yesterday, and all too true today.
So much has happened in less than two years. I had cancer. I had surgery. I had to rush back to work after almost no time to recover from the surgery. I let two men go out of my life. I moved. I started school the DAY AFTER I came back from my summer-long work. I juggled a busy school and work schedule... And now my body is exhausted. My issues- sadness, worry, guilt, frustration, anxiety, ambition, money troubles- are hurting my body... There is so much love and good fortune in my life too but right now I feel subsumed by the bad things and they are working their way out through my body. I don't recommend running for you, she tells me. Slow walks: notice the trees and the sky as you walk. Yoga. Tai Chi. Don't do that cleanse (I was thinking of doing the Master Cleanse for a few days). Eat well. No stress. You need to look after your body. 
I don't always eat well. It's been just over a week since I quit eating desserts and I fantasize about licking the biggest candy cane in the world from time to time. Instead of sugar I eat salty fatty snacks (like Barbara's Jalapeno Cheese Puffs- Look! It says "All Natural" on the bag, so they're healthy, right?) I made lamb stew last night but the dumplings fell apart so now it's Lamb Stew with Thick Flour Paste and I chased it with like a million crackers anyway. When I eat something I love, especially sugar, I have to eat it until it's all gone. I have no self control.
I am impatient. I read books fast. I grind my teeth when people around me are slow, either to move, or to 'get' things. When I DO exercise, I like to be breathless and sweaty at the end of it. Yoga and Tai Chi don't fit the bill, but maybe I have to make them fit. Maybe I also have to let patience fit into my life as well, or the dwarves will keep on pummeling me until I'm really sick.
Today I wanted to be looked after but my sweetheart is looking after his five year-old, who's also sick, and I clenched my teeth and thought Do I have the patience and the selflessness to be with someone who has kids? Can I put myself second, for a little person I haven't even met yet? And the answer is a resounding I don't know. It's another issue right now, the elephant in the room. At times it shrinks to nothing and at times it's so big I can't see round it to all the good things. I don't know how to adapt to a life with someone who has three kids with two exes and needs to grab work when he can and god, you do the math- between all that and me being at school and working when do we spend time together?  And more importantly- because of course we DO find the time- what kind of future can two people build who are so far apart in age and experiences and goals? Always the underlying question: what do you want whatdoyouwant? From love, from life, from work, from school. And again, the resounding I don't know.
 My singing teacher told me to take deep breaths today and I almost started crying. I can't breathe properly, I told her with tears in my eyes. It's been a problem- an issue- ever since I was little. I get stressed and I take these shallow, gaspy breaths and if I breathe 'deeply' I feel panicky and air-deprived.

And from my window, as a reminder, this:

*NOT Starbucks, silly. The rainbow.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


...for a day of sunshine, even if I was indoors most of the day and didn't see it...

 ...and for the reason I was indoors: because I was performing with this theatre company, doing this

I was up here, on a teetering scaffold, surrounded by a bunch of my instruments:
 And below me, some surrealist children's theatre was happening:
Creating theatre in a few short days, seeing magic unfold and being part of it. It's been a long time since I've done a project that was so simply fun from start to finish. I think I really needed it right now to remind me that life isn't all about school. It's also about simply playing.

It's about working with lights and cushions and costumes and hazers that fill up the space with beautiful smoke:
It's about working with a 9 year-old who can't help chasing the smoke. And also getting to work with someone I haven't worked with for too long and someone else I've wanted to work with for almost twenty years!
And at the end of the day, it was about cream pies and plastic sardines. As all theatre should be. Yum.

(The show was A Place Called Whisper, produced and created by pi Theatre for Obstructions. What can I say? It's American Thanksgiving, a holiday I've always thought is ridiculously close to Christmas, poor Americans. But I find myself thankful this weekend, holiday or not.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hi. How's your weekend going so far? I am a bit embarrassed to admit that mine began on Thursday afternoon and is still going, but in a calm, reflective, restful way, not a four-day-party kind of way.
Actually, it really began with some hard work, as I decided it was high time I reclaimed my front door from the graffiti "artists" who clearly prowl my neighbourhood late at night with nothing else to do but tag my door over and over and over again:
A couple cans of red spray paint, some stick-on letters and numbers and a light head from all the paint fumes, and...
Isn't that nice? It probably won't stay that way for long, sadly. But I'm determined to stay on top of it this year.
My tiny attempt to make east van prettier was done. I was looking at a few days without work, homework or school, believe it or not. It was time to escape for the rest of the weekend...
There is someone new in my life these days.  We are still working on how to fit "us" into our busy and very different lives: School! Work! Kids! Exes! Friends! Family! Some people have been enthusiastic and accepting. Others hang back warily and wait to see how it's going to go and if it will last. There are a lot of things to figure out. But basically we try to keep things simple on the days when we can meet up. It helps that he lives in a beautiful neighbourhood. It's not close to where I live, but I'm learning to make the travel time enjoyable. We eat bread and cheese and stay in out of the rain, or brave the elements and head to the beach.
Today he went to work and invited me to stay and wait for him to return. I was determined to get outside for a while, but even a borrowed rainjacket was no match for the elements. By the time I got to the beach I was soaked through.

It was NOT a very smart day to leave my bus pass behind, but at least that forced me to get some exercise. And the almost-deserted beach was still lovely, in a grey sort of way.

I walked past cafes, stores and late-autumn roses, still blooming. Oh this mild climate of ours!
The leaves this year have been amazing:

Finally, I decided that the only sensible thing to do was to go back to the apartment, get dry, and spend the rest of the day reading and listening to music. But first, there was one more stop to make...
I'm not seeing this person because he lives so near this bakery, but it certainly IS an advantage. Tucked away unassumingly on the side of a building with a dry-cleaner, a coffee shop and a couple other stores, this place is a sort of bready heaven. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the best bakeries I have ever been to. And their granola is without peer. Get yourself down here and check it out for yourself.
As I was buying their incredible lemon-rosemary loaf, I felt a drop of sweat begin its excruciating trickle down my lower back. Ugh- soaking wet and sweaty.  I slopped home. It is doubtful whether my boots will ever recover from this walk. But I do have some very nice things to snack on this afternoon.
Have yourselves a great weekend and stay dry!

Friday, October 12, 2012


The rain has come back to this rainy town, and maybe people are mourning for our endlessly sunny September, but I look out of my living room window and see this:
and I am secretly very happy. (Would you have guessed from this photo that on some days I can see the North Shore mountains from this window? Didn't think so.)
I think I'm happy not so much because it's grey and cold, but because the weather's change has echoed a change in my own life, as I finish a contract that had a punishing effect on my schedule, and as I adjust to school and my new life as a student.
Yesterday I sat at this table, which serves as a desk, printing station, computer home, and general paper-dumping area. I put Chet Baker on the cd player and I surveyed the grey day with great satisfaction. I was home. I had time to catch up on homework, a little practice, some cleaning. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was so good.
I'm so happy that I had the chance to do this sound design contract...
(So proud. You can go and hear my work, if you like, until November 3rd.)
...but I'm also glad it's over, and I'm glad it happened when it did, because I have the feeling that school just isn't going to feel so tough after the craziness and fatigue of this month. I'm talking under-eye smudges, shuttling back and forth from school to work, despair, and crying jags that were a little scary. I don't do tired very gracefully, I'm afraid.
My grandpa died a little while ago. He was my last surviving grandparent, and now he's gone. My dad flew to the UK to take care of the business that happens when someone dies, and to be at the funeral. I sent him a note to read at the funeral, which was today. And really, I struggled with what to say, because Grandpa and I were never close, at least not after I grew up. He was an uptight man, very fussy. I don't think he was very happy most of his life, and he was certainly very unhappy when he went into a home a few years ago. He went downhill pretty fast after that, which is pretty common I guess.
In the end I wrote that he had made me proud to have Welsh heritage (his accent was one of the loveliest things about him), that I hoped some of my musical skills came from him, (or at least our Welsh ancestors), and that he had instilled a love of family and good food in his children and his grandchildren. All true. He's left us all some money- I don't know how much yet- and it's weird knowing that someone I hardly knew would leave me something like that, but I'll try and honour his memory by putting it to good use and making my life better with it. If it's a lot of money it will make tuition easier to pay, and if it's just a bit of money then I'll have a really good dinner somewhere, because although he would have frowned at the extravagance, Grandpa really liked his food.
Today I survey my grubby neighbourhood (which Grandpa would have hated) with glee, happy to be here, happy to be home, and I raise a metaphorical glass to his memory.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gig Madness!

It's come and almost gone, the weekend I was dreading. Three gigs, all of them challenging in their own way, and all of them were fantastic. Not, always, technically the best playing or the purest singing. But at every one of them I found things to delight in, whether it was the joy of trying something new (playing accordion in a leather mask, anyone?), reviving an old band with a bunch of friends  (Flying Folk Army!) or winning over a crowd of jazz fans on a sunny deck (Pender Harbour Jazz Fest)... it was busy, and exciting, and exhausting too (I got about 2 hours' sleep last Friday night).
So once again I feared something because it seemed too challenging, too scary, too much work... and it became pure fun, from beginning to end. You'd think I'd learn by now, right? Nope.
I have another hectic bunch of weeks coming up: a project that I should have done more work on over the summer is finally here, and I need to buckle down hard to get it done. Plus, there's school, which is a whole 'nother thing. I want to keep my head above water. I really want to not fail any of my courses. And then there's my social life- I'd like to still have a few friends in four years when this academic craziness is all over.
Do you know what I do? Some people cook to relieve stress, some people make things or take long baths... I eat, certainly (and damn you, Capilano U, why do you have to have a Tim Horton's lurking so that I want to buy donuts all day long?), but mostly I come home and grab the electronic bug zapper. You know, it looks like a tennis racket, but when you press a red button it becomes electrified and kills bugs on contact.
What can I say? The summer heat is still upon us, fruit flies are breeding like mad in our kitchen, and the zap! spark! crack! of the Bug Racket fills me with inner peace after a long day.

*I may not be around too much in the next few months as school is really kicking my ass. However, I will try and check in once a month at least, and as a personal challenge, I am going to try and add a photo every time, to make this blog more interesting on the eyes. Wish me luck...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being Schooled.

They are like deer, these girls, like long-legged does.
I see them on the bus in the mornings, loping around campus in the afternoons. They are giggling with their friends, they are wearing short shorts, so that their perfect brown legs go on forever. They all have long, shiny hair, looped casually back from their perfect pure faces, or hanging straight down past their shoulders. They are impossibly young. Today in Jazz History we were talking about the best places in town to see live jazz gigs and one of them asked Is that a 19-plus bar? and I realized that I am taking classes with people who cannot legally drink yet.
If ever there was an incentive for me to want a drink, that was it.
The boys-and they mostly are boys, not yet men- aren't so bad, somehow. They're so far from perfect, with their skinny jeans and their fashionably awful goatees and their pimples. They're brash, some of them, and the rest are awkward and silent. Most of them, boys and girls alike, avoid looking at me. In my more paranoid moments, I believe it is because they believe they will catch my oldness like a disease. I know that really, they are mostly shy, or socially inept. Some of them are barely out of high school, after all.  But some of them have so much more confidence than I had at that age. Than I still have.
On top of that, most of them know more about jazz than I do.
Okay, so there are many, many good things: the campus nestles in the north shore trees and is small and warm in the sun. I think that most of my classes will be interesting, and also my teachers, although I mistrust the one who memorizes all of our names right off and (mostly) correctly guesses what instrument we play. He is a little too pleased with himself.  I see the boys and girls giggle at his barb-tongued remarks and think Either you're going to grow on me, or you're an arrogant prick. We'll see. I get to challenge two of my classes; Class Piano and Sight Singing/Ear Training which basically means I can do the homework and not have to show up, because I already know a lot of the material. That's cool. I like learning again, although my fingers stray too often to email and Facebook as I do my reading and writing. I must learn to be more disciplined.
I will go to sleep early tonight, so that more wrinkles won't form, so the Beauty and Fashion Police who surely roam the campus won't eject me for being too old, too plain, too out-of-place.
I will bide my time, and remember the old bumper sticker that reads Old Age & Treachery Will Beat Youth & Skill Every Time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Four Things.

1. The heat is on. Finally. I am trying not to let a word of complaint pass my lips, even as I swelter in my 15-pound, made-of-curtain-material costume (I'm not kidding.) Because the sun is glorious. Amazing! We went to the lake yesterday and swam for the first time this summer. The tiny lake which was also the first place I swam last year after my surgery. And the site of many a lovely evening swim/BBQ. And the place where my sweetheart recently told me that he loves me. A perfect place to make new summer memories every year.
2. On a hot day, nothing tastes more refreshing than a Raspberry Vinegar drink from Strouss, conveniently located right across the road from the theatre where I work. If you're like me and don't like your drinks too sweet, try this: pour yourself some raspberry juice, and add a dash of apple cider vinegar. It'll quench your thirst like nothing else.
3. I think the sun has already read my blog and is feeling self-conscious, because it's hiding behind some clouds at the moment. Summer in a high mountain town is an exercise in seizing moments
4. Here's my schedule today: I got up, ran 5km, biked 6.5km to work, did a super high-energy show at 1pm, have another show at 4pm, have a rehearsal after that, and then will bike another 6.5km home tonight. I think I'm turning into a bit of an athlete. And I love it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How to Enjoy a Cariboo Summer Day

Sun. Summer.
Try not to look over your shoulder at the lurking rain clouds the wind is blowing in...
Hot days here are fleeting and should be savoured.
Smile at the audience as sweat runs down the inside of your costume-
enjoy the fact that there IS an audience, a large one for a change.
Put an extra bit of bounce in your step, more gleam in your smile.
Sing loudly.
Make a dramatic curtsey at the curtain call.
Hug some kids and your best friend outside the theatre while the audience takes photos. 

Get outside for lunch-
Go and sit near the creek and listen to the wind ruffle the firs.
Talk to someone else in costume and love the fact that yours is off and the breeze can reach your legs.

Summer is
an apple's cold crunch against your teeth
a new bicycle waiting for you in the parking lot

Being here is knowing joy, from time to time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This is what I look like today. 
I have a cold. A cold is such an insignificant virus, and yet it makes life so hard. I want to sleep all the time. I've hardly been on my bicycle in a week. I snuffle and glower and lurch through the day. I save any energy I have for the 2 shows we do daily. 
I am thoroughly grateful that this is happening now, and that I should be getting better by the time we have our gala opening in 5 days. And fully mended by the time my sweetheart arrives in 2 weeks. I am covering myself in oils and ointments from Barkerville's Chinatown, until I smell like a Chinese herbalist's shop; of camphor and mint and eucalyptus. The town cat actually dry-heaved when I petted her today; she hates my smell. I like it, or rather, I would if I could smell it.
There are moments of grace though. We had the day off Sunday and I probably should have slept all day, but instead I went to Barkerville with a co-worker and we did tourist-y things for a few hours. Oh, and I played the church organ for morning service, a ritual I enjoy even if I don't believe in all of it. I bought plants at the town garage sale and went to the place I work even though it was a day off and then we came home and made pasta noodles, from scratch, and ate them- four of us- and there was a lot of laughter and modest amounts of red wine and it was so great to enjoy eating and living with the same people I have to work with all day. It's such a blessing.
I am realizing that I can be a VERY impatient person, and that it can choke me with frustration and rage from time to time, so I am trying to learn to breathe and exercise through this and find some equilibrium. Alone-time helps. Also running and biking (and the occasional glass of red wine).
I am also learning as I get older how much can change in a year and how often I want to say to my year-ago self: Just relax. Focus on all the good things. This too shall pass. One year ago I was newly single and recovering from an operation and I was spinning. Spinning dizzily through change and heartache and freedom and obsession and joy. I don't think I would change too much of that, because it was all useful, but I wish I had been more joyful and less certain that the world would end if someone didn't look at me the right way. 
So one year later, I write a letter to my sweetheart and I say: This is new to me. I'm still learning, but I like it, this romance and writing. I feel like the Victorian miners who 'waited on the mail' and sent letters home to distant lands. Vancouver is my distant land now; we have emails and phone calls to sustain us until this month's end and then we will learn each other all over again. 
And I look at the person who caused me so much heart-searching over the past year and smile politely and try not to plot scenarios where he realizes how wonderful I am and feels like a tool bad person for spurning my advances. Because although exercise and joy and deep breathing all have their place, sometimes there's nothing like making up a good revenge scenario in your head.