October 30th, 2004
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the universe has such amazing ways of sending a little help when you most need it.
the drive to telluride was spectacular. jaw dropping. i have seen views and mountain ranges that overwhelmed me in the best of ways. cameras do not do it justice. not even close. rock faces that humble you and make you feel like a little bug on the landscape.
telluride is a ski village filled with tiny little victorian houses of my favourite kind. small, with tons of character and colour. I would move here in a second if they didn’t sell for around a million each.
as we were walking around last night trying to find the perfect place to eat (there is a lot to choose from), we met Clay & Jenny who most generously (and quickly) offered us some office space to sleep in. I nearly jumped for joy at the thought of not sleeping in the below zero temperatures. I have recently contracted a cold and did not want to make it any worse than need be. needless to say i was warm and dry. we had yummy chinese food for dinner and then to a pub for a beer.
i am always incredibly moved when complete strangers offer you such gifts. it reminds me that i too that wish give back in a similar way in the near future.
i want to write so much more but my head is foggy from the cold and i have some drawing to do for the job i am working on.
but before i go i must mention this cafe i am currently writing from. the coffee cowboy is a internet cafe/store that sells all enviromentally friendly products, books on social issues, free internet, community talk sessions, etc. All presented in a very sophisticated and comfortable way. I love it. If i were to open a cafe it would be just like this. they are starting a new website which is not yet finished, the restoration station.com. (they describe their mission as exploring ideas, engaging people, and promoting products to restore our world.) I found so many great quotes here, my favourite you may already have heard…
“Well behaved women rarely make history.” -Laurel Thatcher Birch
may you think about that as you go about your day and maybe a little mis-behavior will ensue.
to colorado and beyond…

October 29th, 2004
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in the last few days i have experienced…
another snowstorm (cold and wet sleeping)
beef jerky and an orange for breakfast
the wild west (gun shops and gas stations)
desert, desert, and more desert
a game of pool in a saloon in the middle of the desert
dinner with great friends (laughing uncontrollably at a beautiful two year old named Addison)
a shower (oh my god it was good)
a night in a motel
incredible red rock landscapes as far as the eye can see
bad cappucinos out of a machine in a gas station
mountains sprawling everywhere, snow capped
views that caused me to gasp out loud
it’s amazing how the mind drifts and wanders while on a long car trip. Thoughts float out into the mountain peaks outside my window and flit around. drifting like the snow. somehow on the tops of those mountains i find my centre again. it comes back with a force. i hope it continues this way.
this trip has been so good for me, i am learning more about myself. about sitting with feelings. about what i can do, questioning my limitations. about being homeless for a time. about feeling safe while travelling. i am working on a job while on the road, (something I have never done before). strange to me to work with none of my comfort zones, my studio, my solitude, etc. it is possible.
today we hike in red rock.
tomorrow to telluride. I hope i can find a scanner.

October 26th, 2004
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Went to bed in a world of dry brown. awoke to everything blanketed in white, tent covered.
as I took my nightly pee last night i neglected to get one of my shoes under the rainfly. we had to dig for it.
currently stuck in a snowstorm in nevada. my first experience with tire chains is a good one.
i sit in a funky cafe (with wireless internet), drinking hot soup and drying out my mittens. happy to have two shoes and rosy cheeks.
next the desert. will there be snow in the desert?

October 25th, 2004
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Slept by the ocean last night in Point Reyes.
Awoke to a beautiful fog laying over the hills, the ocean, over the moss covered trees.
Travelling wakes us up to so many things.
I sit looking over the tops of pine tree covered hills in Santa Rosa, just passing through. In a minute I will go out and feed some chickens, they way they move always makes me laugh uncontrollably. Neurotic flamenco dancers, with their staccato-like hops.
I slept quite well for my first night in the tent. I am learning new positions on the therma-rest. I have learned that I cannot stay in the fetal position the way I normally do, one must shift the hips a little for optimum circulation, this avoids the achy hip thing. As I am so fond of saying, it is the little things that make the biggest impact in our daily activities. I had dreams of attending parties in strange houses with old friends.
The first week of the trip was spent visiting friends, and more friends, seeing a show, time spent with new family. I bought some new flip-flops (my first pair), that make car travel much more enjoyable. The changes in weather in this part of the world are amazing. You can be wearing down in the morning, only to switch to a tank top later in the day. How does one prepare for this? Layers m’dear. lot’s o layers.
I wish to write more but there are chickens to see, and things to draw. Though it is hard to draw while driving in a car. We will start our trek to Canada later today. I will post whenever I can find wireless internet.
little things that make me happy right now…
…the smell of cedar
…jotting things quickly in my journal
…a new therma rest
…new flip flops
…J’s laugh
…orange flavoured metamucil (changed my life)
Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap
…hot tea
…camping with pillows

October 18th, 2004
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I am off for a day in the city today and then tomorrow I will board a plane to San Francisco for another adventure. We will be staying with friends, family, and then camping for many miles. I will have a laptop so there may be a few posts along the way. Who knows what I will encounter?
Ghosts, stories, new friends, enlightenment?
I am in that state of nervousness that always accompanies me at the beginning of any adventure, the one that Wendell Barry so aptly describes as your first bonding with the unknown wilderness.
Heightened excitement mixed with fear.
I smile thinking of a quote that I have painted on a weathered piece of wood outside the door of my house. It reads, “Adventure is discomfort in retrospect.” I like it because it reminds me that it is quite natural and expected to experience discomfort in this life, on a daily basis or when far from home. So often I want to avoid it altogether. I now enter into traveling knowing that I will experience some sleep deprivation, some lack of comfort zones, some constipation, some homesickness.
and that is o.k.
Because to avoid those things is to avoid life altogether.

October 15th, 2004

The view outside the window of my studio shows a dark grey sky contrasted by firey yellow leaves. The color of the leaves is almost blinding, you cannot look at it for too long. The forcast calls for heavy rains all weekend, and I breathe a little deeper hoping that it will replenish the well, (which has taken to coughing up bits of dirt now and then. This is as disconcerting as it sounds, pipes shaking and rumbling, sending air up from the depths, like someone with a terrible chest cold.)
I hear Jeff Buckley singing from downstairs.
My sleep was broken and filled with tossing last night. Right side, back, left side, repeat. Mind swimming with worries about money, water, pipes, and overall resistance to change. There has been so much of it lately and it temporarily throws me off balance. I try to hide the fact i am human by not showing any weakness to others, but mostly to myself. I have to remind myself that it is o.k. to admit defeat once in awhile. I had a trying week, time to put on my jammies and treat myself to things that fill me up. Gosh there is so much learning in this life.
And still I am grateful for all of it.
I am going to stop pretending that I am invincible.
I am breaking down many walls that have built up over 34 years, walls that were put there to protect and guard and keep me safe. I am learning how to be married and finding sometimes that can be really scary. I am re-learning how to be open, how to feel vulnerable, how to trust, all of the things I have needed to do for a long time. I am learning that there are some very young places in myself that need healing. And as the walls are dismantled it feels sometimes as though I have lost my centre. I am changing. evolving. Who will I be when the dust has settled?
I log on today to Jann Arden’s journal and find a powerful post on the topic of change, echoing my thoughts in so many ways. Her honesty always shakes me up, making me want to go deeper. She writes:
“It’s hard to love yourself. You feel stupid doing it. You think to yourself that you’re not worth the effort. I am getting better as I get older; better at loving bits and pieces of me.”
I would add to that that I am getting better at identifying the parts of myself that need loving, something I was not able to do just a short time ago. I look at these parts with compassionate eyes. Eyes that are letting the tears out that have built up over many years. Leftovers from grieving that was never done. It feels good to be human. To feel all emotions with great intensity. I have been laughing so much more too. Laughing and crying.
The other day J and I were playing around doing that old drama exercise where you put your arms out and allow yourself to fall backwards, the other person catching you before you hit the ground. When it was my turn I was surprised to find myself freezing up. I kept putting my foot out, chickening out at the last minute. My eyes filled with tears. How afraid I am to relinquish control and just trust. It took many tries over several days for me to finally do it. Re-learning.
For those of you who know me, please do not worry that I express sadness here. I am not sad. Quite the opposite. I am human. Complicated and messy at times. But beautiful none the less.
The rain falls heavily.
There is always a bit of hesitation when posting the more “personal” topics.
is writing about this very subject on her blog today. I have quite a lot to say on the subject but currently refer back to this quote (which I have posted before) as it sums up the gist of my feelings on the matter.
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open…” -Martha Graham

October 12th, 2004
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“Artists, poets–whatever you want to call those people whose job is “making”–take in the commonplace and are forever recognizing it as worthwhile.
I think I am always collecting in a way–walking down a street with my eyes open, looking through a magazine, viewing a movie, visiting a museum or grocery store. Some of the things I collect are tangible and mount into piles of many layers, and when the time comes to use these saved images, I dig like an archeologist and sometimes find what I want and sometimes don’t.” -Corita Kent

October 10th, 2004
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I am one of those people who is constantly looking for answers of some kind. It is just my nature. This is the reason that I love books so much. If there is a topic that I need to know about I will find a book on it and figure it out for myself. I am an autodidact. Maybe this is why I did not do well in school, I do not like to be told how something is, I want to discover it myself. Read about it on my own.
Early on I was drawn to self help books, a fact that is not very glamorous to some, (maybe not to myself even now.) There seems to be a stigma of sorts attached to the person who reads self help. An assumption that they are needy, lacking in self confidence, a willingness to trust in the beliefs of others more than their own. I will admit to having these feelings now when I enter the self-help section in a bookstore. Yet I am still drawn there for some reason. It is a human trait to want to seek out answers to our questions, and to regularly question our existence. Where not the early philosophers of our time the precursor’s to the self-help movement? The existentialists themselves offered much advice on how one should view themselves, god (or absence of god), and offered methods for facing our mortality.
Over time as I gained more confidence in myself and my ideas, my interest in self-help titles waned. I became less interested in people who wanted to share their “methods” of living (and coping), and more interested in those authors who live by example, sharing their life experience not in a dogmatic way but in an annecdotal sense. The ones that actually live what they talk about. Life does not always go according to some formula, but is rather a compilation of transitions and evolutions. Formula falls apart in the wake of intense change, adaptation is key. The difficulty I find comes not with in seeking the answers to our questions, but rather in putting one’s faith in someone else’s answers.
You may find this strange coming from an author whose book can often be found in the self-help section of your local bookstore. Yes, indeed. But these are the things that run through my mind as I think about writing another book. The best books in my opinion are the ones that cause me to ask the interesting questions of myself, not necessarily provide answers. (Just as the best teachers I had in school.) Some of the great works of literature (fiction) may act as the best form of self-help, causing us to ask questions of ourselves, forcing us to look at what we believe in, what scares us, what fill us up.
For several months now I have been thinking about what to do as a follow-up to ‘Living Out Loud’. Trying not to push it too much, I want the answer to come to me naturally. I refuse to do a book for book’s sake, because that is what is expected of me, it must be genuine. It must have a reason to exist. (Maybe ‘follow-up’ is not the best way to phrase it). I do not want to be the author who puts out a book a year because that is what people expect of them. Nor do I wish to do the same thing over and over, (this also goes against my nature). When I have put things out into the world it has been a kind of ‘giving birth’ to an idea, there was always a knowing in my gut that I had to get this thing out. I will admit that there is definitely a pressure when one has published to “follow-up”, “strike while the iron is hot”, “keep people interested in your work”. All fear based thinking. I fall into it from time to time. But I know that is not where the good work comes from. That is not the motive I wish fuel my ideas. And it does not make for an honest creation.
“Charles {Eames} said that the first step in designing a lamp (or anything) was not to ask how it should look–but whether it should even be. He always started fresh from the beginning. He showed us how to develop principles rather than follow formulas.” -Corita Kent (from Learning By Heart)
There are many things bubbling up in me yet I don’t know what form they will take. Both my journal and the blog serve as a planting ground of sorts, allowing me to put down ideas and let them formulate without judgement. They are not about doing ‘great’ work, but instead about giving space to the concepts. More importantly about living the concepts.
Only then will I have something to write about.

October 8th, 2004
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Yesterday in the woods I found a blue pastel. I took it as a sign that I should be drawing with it for a while. And so I’ve been playing around with it ever since. I don’t really enjoy drawing with it, hard to get a good edge so I can’t make it do what I want, much better to play with textures and patterns. An interesting exercise in letting the medium tell you what it wants to do. I found an old piece of wire and started scratching into it, and watched the crumbs fall into my lap. Texture. much more satisfying.

My current journal is just about to the end, so I ordered a new one yesterday from lovely design, made of found paper and envelopes. There is much more soul in things made by the hand.
A full day yesterday, a morning of work, a bikeride to Eugenia Falls, tea and pastries by the water, bookclub in the evening. A surprise cake and champagne from the girls made me feel grateful and lucky. When they brought it out I instantly felt bad that I had forgotten someone’s birthday. Then I noticed they were all looking at me, and the cake was topped with two playmobile characters, a man and a woman (complete with bouquet). We laughed for hours and shared stories of life, death, and everything inbetween. I sometimes forget how important “girl time” can be. I love them all.

October 5th, 2004
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click images to enlarge. (inspired by learning to love you more’s assignment, “make a flyer of your day”.)

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