Showing posts from August, 2013

The Private Party


My Yoga Challenge

I can’t speak for everyone, but after injuring myself, I was afraid to do much of anything, especially movement that might cause more pain. When I slipped a month ago, I bruised my ribs; then I picked up a piece of plywood that invoked an intense muscle spasm just left of my spine, and angered a hiatus hernia. Just eating or sleeping or shifting would set off the pain. 
Now, I know the only way back from bruised ribs is rest and so I’ve been resting and protecting my sore spots. Most of my reading says from 4-6 weeks and this is week 5. The acute pain has lessened to a widespread ache, especially in the afternoon when the muscles tire in my upper back. So today I’m being my new yoga practice.
I discovered a great video series on youtube called “Namaste Yoga” with instruction by Dr. Melissa West. This morning I did her beginner’s practice--Yoga 101. This is cool because she has over 100 different yoga sessions free on youtube. Because I live in an isolated location, there’s just Melissa …

Arrival at Entrance Island

Arrived at my new lightstation yesterday, aided by Monika, a charming Gabriola taxi driver, and a wonderful Lab Supervisor from the Gabriola Health Centre. When I found out my helicopter was delayed a couple of hours, she helped me pack all my gear into the health centre for safe keeping. This afforded me some time to take in the island trails. Arbutus trees! This is a tree we don't see much in the Lower Mainland--such a shame--it's curling red papery bark is so elegant. I forgot how much I like arbutus trees. Before she left at noon, she helped me carry my stuff back out to the heli-pad, and fortunately my chopper came soon after. We flew out to Nanaimo Airport to pick up more passengers so I was treated to a view of Gabriola and the lush farmlands around Nanaimo--some gorgeous horse farms there.

Entrance Island is built on a giant rock near the mouth of Departure Bay so ferries glide by regularly. There is a seal colony and several big old sea lions that lounge about on the r…

Burley's (Epic) Seaside Romp

During my convalescence we managed to sneak in a brief family holiday on Vancouver Island--I just love the Island. We stayed at a friend's beautiful country home near Royston and were able to walk a nearby beach every day. 

Burley, my daughter's dog, would like to invite you to view his Epic Seaside Adventure. He is a Golden Retriever + Blue Heeler + Border Collie cross, which has proven to be quite the interesting mix.

With my ribs almost healed, I'm preparing to head out again in a couple of days. I'll be stationed at Entrance Island Lightstation for the next few weeks. More to come.


At a beach near Royston we find evidence of the Jurassic Era in BC--

Jack Hodgins Writing BC

I picked up a book by Jack Hodgins yesterday -- The Invention of the World --  and I am so impressed with his writing style. The man's a genius ... maestro of a gritty symphony ... the kind of writer that merges myth and reality by nailing truth and detail effortlessly ...  the kind of writer I aspire to be. I love it when I find a book like this. It's the kind of book you read out loud to yourself late into the night--in voices, in accents, in melodic whispers. And thank god, the man's prolific, cause when you find one book you like by a particular writer, you always crave more.

Frontier BC is jam-packed with colourful characters, real and imagined--who else would settle in a place thick with fog and trees and rocks and water, and not much else?--characters whose stories merged and intersected with the First Peoples and created this province. People came here searching for things: for utopia, or fast cash, for freedom, or land and power, or sometimes just plain love.  For …

Rumrunners & Pirates Ahoy

Ten years ago, I spent one summer travelling to Sooke, a pretty place in the southeast corner of Vancouver Island. I had decided to use it as a setting for a historical novel from the 1920’s. I’d read an old article in Raincoast Chronicles (Harbour Publishing, 1976) about a Canadian man named Bill Gillis who’d disappeared--likely been murdered--with his seventeen year old son, on their fishing boat, the Beryl G, and I was hooked (pun intended). It was one of those moments writers dream of ... intrigued by a flash that keeps on burnin'.
The Beryl G, empty and blood-splattered, was spotted by Chris Waters, the lighthouse keeper--of course there has to be a lighthouse keeper--of Stuart Island in the San Juans (American side). But the mens' bodies were never recovered.
I decided to weave these two tragic characters into my plot, along with some of the hows and whys of the time. I wrote the novel quite quickly and remember laughing hysterically through some of the scenes, as I read t…

Heal Me ... Heal Me Now

I hate being injured, I mean, I absolutely hate it. Nothing is quite as frustrating as not being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Analyzing every move for potential pain, even in slowest locomotion, is just plain maddening. I've had lots of solid kindly advise on how to manage a sore back. Going to the doctor is important, especially if you're filing a claim, but there are also other excellent therapies.

My daughter is an RMT and I've been fortunate to receive expert massage from her strong hands. A couple of days ago, she said, "Why don't you go see Clara, mom?" Dr. Clara Cohen is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Healing Cedar Wellness and has treated me using acupuncture in the past. A brilliant idea, daughter. 

So, yesterday, I went for an acupuncture treatment and felt an immediate shift. Acupuncture can do that. Those tiny needles inserted in just the right places are able to move energy and relieve pain. If you're shak…

Home From Chatham Point

After a week working at Chatham Point Lightstation, I had to come home. My back was not getting any better; in fact, it was getting worse. To stay working on an isolated station would make me a liability, especially when I can't lift or move without pain. On the drive home, I made it two and a half hours before stopping at Starbuck's in Courtney. I crawled out of the car in my old sweatpants (I'd left in a hurry that morning) and stumbled just as I was getting to the door. The poor woman sitting outside with her little dog saw the look on my face as my back went into spasm. I managed to get my chai tea latte and change (it was hot by then) and drove the rest of the way with a swimming pool noodle jammed into my back to try and alleviate the spasm. Having back pain gives me a new sense of sympathy for people who live with chronic pain. It is intensely frustrating not to be able to do the simplest things, like turn over in bed or go for a walk.

Luckily, my daughter is a massa…

Rumblings in the Night

The wilderness has a way of amplifying light and sound. One night awakened by a strange loud drone, I glanced up to find my bedroom window filled with the image of a floating hotel, its myriad lights glaring in the dark.  I could only imagine the crowds inside, feasting and dancing.

This past Wednesday night, I experienced my first storm at Chatham Point. It hit around 11pm, just after my last weather report and raged for a few hours. Filling the night with flashing sheets of light and rumbling thunder, it is easy to see why a culture who believes in parallel worlds above and below would create stories to explain this phenomenon. Fiercely beautiful, flashing electrical current through its eyes, the powerful Thunderbird flew through the skies, its giant wings rumbling the dark.

In the calm aftermath, I awakened again to a primeval world and peered out into an alien landscape. The normally churning ocean lay dead calm, a layer of cloud hung suspended above the surface, and the sun glimmer…