The Man Who Talks to God


20151226_174652

The view from my sofa

I’ve had a lovely holiday season thus far.  I’ve visited with family and friends.  I’ve attended a few gatherings that remind me how fortunate I am.

This has been a tough year.  Yet for all the challenges I’ve had they’ve provided insight into some of the areas I need to focus on.  One of them is most definitely my health and well being.  I’ve got to take back the level of health I was enjoying just a couple of years ago.

20151227_144156_00120151227_144134_001

The gal pals from school.

I woke early yesterday.  I didn’t have any coffee which is unusual for me.  I’d meant to pick it up the day before.  These days, however, if I curl up the sofa with my Canucks  blanket tucked about my person then chances of stepping out into the cold again are slim to none.

I bargained with myself that I’d do it first thing in the morning.

20151228_073611_001

Walking down through the 4th Street overpass yesterday morning shortly after 7:00 AM.

At 7:00 AM I slipped from bed and dressed to go for a walk.  Two hours later I arrived back home.  I’d walked the length of the Quay from the 4th Street Overpass down to the end of New West Waterfront Esplanade.  I’d stopped at Angelina’s for breakfast then I traipsed over the Quayside Drive overpass and stopped at Safeway to pick up my coffee.  Then toddled back home.

20151228_073808_001

20151228_074038_002

Walking along the Westminster Pier Park walkway watch the sun come up 

I was in pain, though it was moderate.  I know for the next little while any activity I do will leave me in pain, but you know, I just gotta do it.  The alternative is worse.

I then went and had my hair trimmed up and decided to head to downtown Vancouver to use some of the gift cards I received for Christmas.

This is the first shopping trip I’ve made to downtown Vancouver this year which is really odd for me.  My daughter and I decided to meet up and have dinner later in the afternoon as well.

6. Sunrise Steveston 012

Out by where I’m now working in Steveston 

I arrived downtown around 1:30 PM.  It has been so beautiful out and the mountains were just glorious!  I decided to have a gander at the new kid on the block being Nordstroms.  It actually looks very much like the one in Seattle.  It is bright, open and accommodating.  It is also outside of my price range.

Still they’ve made every attempt to make customers feel very comfortable regardless of their income.  On the second level is a bar where I watched three men taking photos of their Ceasars! I suppose there is a novelty to this idea of having a drink while you’re out shopping right in the store.

Christmas wish 043

Canada Place a couple of weeks ago at the Charity Breakfast

I smiled then wondered how much they’d given their wives to spend.  They may well need another drink.

Nordstoms is competing with Holt Renfrew and The Bay in the downtown core.  I’m sure they’ll do well.

I checked out Old Navy then it was on to MAC.  I stopped in at various stores along the way.  I’m on the hunt for some good work shoes for the docks out in Steveston.  Uggs had a nice pair that was just a little too expensive at this time coming in at $255.

I’ll head over to the outlet stores in Queensborough to see if I can find a deal.

20151228_163140

The mountains covered in snow yesterday at 4:30 PM

I made my way down Robson to Burrard then headed toward Mahoney & Sons on the water where I would be meeting my daughter.  I definitely got my 10,000 steps in and I was feeling it.  I was now in need of a bathroom.  I went into the Royal Centre Mall and could not find a public washroom at all.  The Hyatt Regency Lobby claimed to have facilities but I could not find them.  I was running early so I stopped at the Elephant and Castle deciding to use their facilities, have a pint and rest for a bit.

Pulling out my notebook I began to jot down a few thoughts.  A man sitting a few seats over asked me what I was writing about.  He also told me I had bronchitis when I coughed. I smiled and told that no, I didn’t have this affliction.

9.

Steveston a couple of weeks ago in the morning

He continued to ask me questions periodically to which I would reply.  A text message made it clear I’d be here a little longer so decided to give up the writing quest and chat with the fellow beside me.  I’ve always enjoyed conversing with people.  I’m seldom intimidated and if the conversation gets uncomfortable, then I politely excuse myself.

He asked me what I thought God was.  Quite the ice breakers.

I told him that to me God was an entity of pure energy that resided within all of us and a.k.a. love.  He spoke of the big bang theory, the collision of light and dark matter.  He spoke of time and our human failings.  It was an interesting conversation.  He told me God speaks through him and that life is about love and compassion.  He went on to tell me that he was clairvoyant as well.

20151228_163043

At the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre yesterday

Smiling he told me I’m an old soul.  I’ve been told this in the past as well.  He wanted to pay for my drink and buy me another.  I politely declined.  It really wasn’t necessary.  He told me I’d write about him.  I grinned and said yes, I most likely would.  He claimed to have money and lot of it and he was having issues with his family.

We did not exchange names.  There was something very familiar about him though and there was a sadness that resonated through him.  He told me I still have some anger issues.  This is true, though I’m aware and working on these aspects of self.

We spoke about dimensions and the need to get out of the 3rd dimension and into the 4th and beyond.  Now, you may be thinking that he was a little out there.  The odd thing is I’ve been researching all of these things for many years now.

20151228_163108

The world contained at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre

Some of the posts I’ve written on this blog deal with these topics as well.

It was time to leave.  I think he would have talked well into the night had I remained.  I wished him well then went to freshen up a bit.  As I left the establishment I noted he was no longer there.

Later when I got home certain parts of this conversation came back to me.  He asked me if I could ask God anything what would it be.  After a few minutes of consideraton I decided that I’d ask if I was done with the health issues I’ve experienced.

The answer was interesting.  If I didn’t want them back then I was in the clear and would live a long life.  And oddly this made sense.

20151228_083411

Winter foliage on the Quay in New West yesterday morning

Now it’s about health and wellness.  I’ve got a long road ahead of me.

The other thing that intrigued me was a comment that he made about the anger issues that are still ongoing.  This is negative energy of which I’m aware.  I described it as peeling back layers of an onion.  You think you’ve dealt with everything only to find yet another issue that needs to be addressed.

“Before you go to sleep tonight, count to eight, then think about the relationship between you father and his dad.  There may be some answers there. ” he instructed.

This struck simply because I never spoke about my family at all and this is indeed a relationship I know very little about.

20151228_083243

 

Santa’s a little hung up on the Quay in New West yesterday

The conversation had been very much about the great beyond and our place in it.  Dark matter will swallow light if you let it and in many ways he is right in that we are in this struggle currently on our planet.

If we give in to fear and anger it will consume us.  Not a good place to be.

And as I walked down to meet my daughter for dinner I thought of how good it was to converse with a stranger about the state of everything.

And there have been several times in my life when those conversations have indeed steered me in a direction I’d not thought of previously.  Sometimes they open the mind just a little more.

20151228_083709

What a lovely way to commemorate those you loved. Located at the Quay in New West

And sometimes it’s just great chatting with someone you don’t know and will likely never cross paths with again.

Peace.

 

 

 

 

Advertisement

A Christmas Wish…


 

Christmas wish 001

I rose early.

I’ve not done this too much over the last month since I’ve been unemployed, however, I wanted to attend the Pan Pacific’s 28th Annual Christmas Wish Breakfast.

So with a book of poetry (local) and a movie gift card in hand, I stepped out into the dark of morning at 6:20 AM.

A fat full moon hung in luminous beauty on a velvety black sky as rows of white and red headlights blinked in unison in the pre-dawn along the highway.

Christmas wish 008

I wanted to wish the gang at Rock 101 all the best as well.  I really appreciate listening to them each morning.  They elevate me.  They are so warm and open.

And wow!  It has been a while since I’ve watched the sunrise from downtown Vancouver!  I watched as the Lions now sprinkled with snow turned a beautiful shade of pink just prior to the sun flooding the sky.

The line-up at the Pan Pacific was long and that’s cool.  All of us in attendance were there to give back to those less fortunate.  May everyone have a blessed time over the holidays.

Christmas wish 021

I will be making my pilgrimage to BC Childrens’ Hospital again this year.  Notification will go up today.

Christmas wish 033

And it was such a pleasure to meet Willy and Kim.  They’ve been a part of my mornings for a very long time along with Alyece who I met earlier this year.

It’s been a tough one.

Christmas wish 035

Now I’m turning my focus toward all the good in my life.  all the little things that make my life a little happier, a little more bearable in times such as these, a little more joyful.

And yes, the gang at Rock 101 does contribute to this factor along with my friends, and bearing witness to beautiful sunrise.  It also helps to know that life will always have its ups and downs.  Your character can well be measured by how you manage the pitfalls in your life.

Christmas wish 028

For me, I keep this heart of mine full to bursting with all the love that it has been afforded.  Indeed, I’m truly blessed.

I’ve a daughter who in many ways saved this soul of mine.  I turned from a path of certain self-destruction to one of redemption and accountability.

And my god, the power of forgiveness!

To let go of the grievances that have plagued me, to rise above the hurt and pain, and release the the fear.

Christmas wish 005

Priceless.

To grow and expand and realize int really isn’t about me at all.

It is about my connection to everyone and everything that I share this planet with.

Its about respect, about love, peace and the human experience.

At Toastmasters I’ve been informed that my speeches touch them on a very deep level. Christmas wish 016

I am humbled.  This moves me in ways you cannot imagine.

I have fought through the challenges of presenting my person and move toward wanting to make a positive impact and truly make a difference in some form.

I’ll keep trying.  Rick Hansen asked this of all us back in 2012 that were invited to run with him.  I take this request to heart.

I just finished a delightful salad at The Reach and I’m feeling incredibly emotional.  It’s a good thing though.   A release of sorts.

Christmas wish 031

Sometimes reminding myself that I’m part of this collective we call humanity is overwhelming.

I want to embrace and discard all the pain and suffering in this world as unreasonable as that sounds.  I want to ensure that everything will be okay.

The fact that I’m here, alive and pushing toward life, demanding that its essence fill me…

Christmas wish 024

Knowing that I am loved.

Is this not the greatest gift?

So I’ll keep on, keepin’ on.

Expansion will come the more I immerse myself with this world that surrounds me.  In manner that is positive with no expectations.

I can only offer…does not mean what I give will be accepted.

And never is there any remorse or ill will that what I offer has been rejected.

Know it will always be there.  What has been offered will never be removed.

That is the truth of where our humanity lays.

Back in Training: Week Seven, The Christmas Week


fit 2

I’ve worked out a few times leading up to Christmas.  I worked out good and hard too!  On the 23rd I was at the gym getting my sweat on.

Time for the Christmas confessional.  I’ve imbibed a wee bit.  I’ve consumed some beer and wine over the past few days.

On the 24th at noon my boss tossed a couple of growlers up on the table and along with the rest of the staff I raised a pint to toast the season.

For the most part I’ve been quite good with not over indulging in the food area of the holidays as well.  Mind you a pizza recently visited my life as well.  I’ll man-up about this though.  I was simply too damn lazy to cook.

This occurred on the 26th.  I drove a great deal that day you see.

I visited with my sister who lives about a one hour drive away.

And as I left I went about my second task of the day which was to replace my T.V.

imagesMVVWYOI2

I’ve had the current television for close to 15 years.  It is just the third T.V. I’ve owned in my life and still worked just fine, however, with the new technology my unit kept losing the signal.  The technicians, who were are very pleasant and based out of Guatemala did their best to assist.

The problem still persisted.  I pondered on the fact that perhaps my old tube T.V. just couldn’t translate the information adequately. I had been advised that if a technician was sent to my home and the problem was my ‘fault’ then the cost would fall to me.

Odd, yes?  I haven’t touched anything behind my T.V. other than to clean in the last 5 years.  In any case I considered what my response would be if I was informed that my T.V. was too old for the technology.

I decided that perhaps it was time to purchase a new T.V. rather than possibly causing bodily harm to a technician.

I did my homework on the Boxing Day offerings.  Had my budget set out and decided that Visions Electronics had the most lucrative deals.  Next was to find a location that would not be inundated by the masses.  In other words, I had to find a store location that was not attached to a godforsaken mall.

I decided upon the store location on Marine Drive and as I arrived it was as I suspected busy but not unreasonably so.

A young store clerk showed me my options and I asked a series of questions then I told him I would like consider my options and he left me alone. I read the fine print and half hour later waltzed out of the store with a 40″ Hisense LED Smart TV at a cost of $350.00.

images5MYO8L7P

Yay!  I had met my objective.

I headed home with my purchase.  I passed the lineup on the Queensborough Bridge.  The outlet mall on Queensborough Landing was just insane as cars were lined up for miles trying to access the stores.

I was really hungry at this point so I dropped the T.V. off then headed out to grab a quick bite.  And as I consumed my meal it occurred to me that I have a ‘Smart’ phone that still confounds me on many fronts.

Now, admittedly, I really only require the basics of talking and texting from my phone.  There are a plethora of apps available to me of this I’m assured, but they hold no appeal to me personally.

They don’t really make phones with just basic functions any longer.  Still there are those moments when I’ll push something I ought not to have and the damn thing won’t do what I want.

Bloody hell!

And it is in these moments that I feel very foolish and not particularly intelligent.

For example shortly after I had purchased this smart technology, I was certain I’d found a ‘lemon’ as it was now frozen.  I went back to London Drugs and expressed my dismay to the clerk.

With a slide of his finger and an apologetic smile on his face the clerk handed the phone back to me.

I had inadvertently locked the phone.

I have this affliction though.  When it comes to directions I glance at them then launch into whatever it is I am trying to accomplish.

Why I have this idea in my head that I should know what I’m doing without the benefit of being guided by the directions that have been so thoughtfully included, well I wish I had an answer to this.

I paid the bill and headed back to my homestead to get this technological wonder up and running.

So let me ask you this.  Having just made the confession I did, do you think I read the directions prior to embarking on this task?

After all I only wanted to plug it in and ensure that it did in fact work.  How difficult could this be?

imagesDNTMWLCJ

Welcome to the episodic adventures of ‘The Dumb Blond Meets the Smart TV.’

First I had to unhook the old T.V. and this proved to be a challenge. I needed a wrench to loosen the cable that was screwed in tightly to the back of the set.  Then I pulled the cumbersome beast off onto a sheet I’d placed on the floor so that I could pull it out of the way without scraping up the floor.

Next I removed parts from the box.  The stand seemed to require screws and after a brief search that lasted a nanosecond I was convinced that his puppy snapped together like Lego as I could not find any screws.

imagesZ93YJI1R

(Queue the music…the theme from Pyscho or Jaws will do)

Note to self:  It would have been very beneficial to have read the directions at this point.

They did in fact kinda sorta snap together.

So I crawled in behind the T.V. and began plugging in various coloured cables into various coloured plugins.

The flashlight was directed at the plugins and the batteries were fading fast. The object was so that I could see which colour I was inputing and damned if I could find a yellow plugin for the yellow cable. Briefly I wondered at their various designations.  It was at this point as I poked about the back that the T.V. that it fell forward onto the floor.

I gasped in horror as my mind immediately began trying to make excuses to trade this back to the store with no additional cost to me.  Now just how pathetic is that?

Gingerly I lifted it up and it appeared fine. My smart T.V. had just survived its first test of having me as the owner.  Laying the screen down gently I walked back over to the stuff strewn across my sofa.  There an image glared at me depicting screws going into the holes on the stand.  A few moments later said screws were located.

imagesY4N2BTCK

I now had everything secured and hopefully plugged in correctly.

Several buttons ran down the side of the screen and I noted the power button and with baited breath pushed it.

A red light came on and I felt a small wave of triumph wash over me.  The word ‘HISENSE’ appeared on the screen in a lovely shade of light turquoise.

A tentative sense of relief slipped in.  I’d not broken it!

Now it asked me my language preference and where I lived.  It asked my provider and my password and that is as far as we got. It kept looping back.

Maybe I did damage it I thought in despair.  Would I not be able to watch a show?

I gazed down at the remote and pressed the button that said TV on it.  We had contact, baby!

imagesVPI37D1U

Brightly coloured people appeared on the screen unusually short and wide much to my delight.  I played with the settings and managed to get them looking fairly normal.

And the manual sat before me taunting me.  Yes, I will read it.  Just not at that moment.

My home once again resembled a war zone. I stared at my kitchen and loathed the idea of cooking.  I had tested my mental acuteness and the idea of cooking just seemed a rather exhausting task, hence, I invited a Pizza into my home.

As I nibbled on the cheesy goodness and watched ‘True Grit” on the Tele, I assured myself that I would go for a run in the morning.

At 7:00 AM I woke to the sound of rain falling outside.

People, I ran in my heart!  Truly I would have but hey, this induction back into running in the dark of morning just can’t begin with a torrential rainfall in the mix.

But yes, it is time to hit the gym and get back to training in earnest.

I had a lovely celebration with my daughter and her boyfriend.  My daughter cooked her first Turkey dinner.  She was insistent from the outset to do all of this on her own with no assistance from moi.

I smiled in pleasure as she swore like a banshee as she tried to extract the food she’d stuffed into her too small apartment oven.  In the end everything was delightfully delicious.

images7XD0JJ0V

This was a great Christmas.  The last few years I’ve felt the strains of battle.  The continuous fight with depression, issues with my heart and the battle with cancer.  The residue effect has been felt over the last few Christmas seasons but always I’ve been with those that I love dearly and for that I am so blessed!

This Christmas I felt as though we’d come through that darkness and a promise is beckoning.  I just have to stop and read the directions.

I am rebuilding and I’m back on track.

On the morrow I have my reading tasks set out.  Not too sure still why I feel I should know that which I do not.  Perhaps I’m simply human after all.

Cheers!

A Christmas Story


I wrote this originally a year ago.  It was part of a five part series called ‘The Napkin’s Odyssey’.  I quite liked the tale that I developed.  If you like this then please do go back and read the others. Thanks. 

Remembrances

lights & action 031

I set out on my annual Christmas shopping trek seeking those items that would just scream someone’s name at me.  There was quite a bit of foot traffic on this Saturday afternoon along Granville Street.   It’s always good to see the hustle and bustle this time of year as I made my way slowly along the corridor plotting my course and plan of action.

This is one the main shopping drags in downtown Vancouver.  Today, as is typical this time of year, the sky is overcast and a wet snow has begun to fall.  I had been checking to see if any interesting little shops had materialized over the last year.  Unfortunately there were none at this juncture of my quest.

With all the health issues I had faced recently I found myself feeling a little fatigued and decided to find a bench to call home for a few moments.

I sat down across from the old Eaton’s store.  Next year Granville will look very different no doubt.  An American store, Nordstrom’s had purchased the property that was opposite me and it was now being renovated and slated to open sometime next year.

images4GHGYW0Cimages3R6502SQimagesKEPHSCZY

The old Eaton’s store, considered one of the ugliest stores. 

It was once described as an unending urinal wall.

So much has changed over all the years from frequenting this area of the city.  I gazed up the street.  The Bay looked very much the same on the outside, however, the interior has undergone many renovations over the years and continues to do so.

There used to be an old man that had built this weird conglomerate of instruments and he would sit outside The Bay, right on the corner of Granville and Georgia St. and play a variety of melodies.  From the time I was a young girl to somewhere in my mid 20’s he was there every Christmas.

I would go down to shop and always looked for him.  The contraption he played was drums, keyboard, accordion, spoons, symbols, a horn, tambourine, etc.  All were rigged and connected somehow, and with each note played they combined to make a hauntingly beautiful sound.

I would hear it when I got off the bus drifting down the Granville Street corridor.

imagesOHXT4WWBimagesI0MOQ3MT

The Bay Downtown Vancouver…Then & Now

The old guy wore a beat up Santa hat.  He was whiskered and a little rough around the edges but the smile and light that danced in his eyes could melt the bitterest of colds.

I always gave him a five dollar bill.  Might not sound like much but in those days it was.

He was still there for the first year of my daughter’s birth but the year after he was gone and I never did see him again.

I sat smiling thinking back to times past.  Looking down toward the south end of Granville I could still recall the neon signs that used to grace the corridor.  Vancouver was a relatively gritty city in appearance back in the day.  Even so, she’s always had a charm and beauty that cannot be beat and still does.

The White Lunch Café was located a few blocks down.  I would go there for breakfast from time to time.  Coffee was ten cents a cup with as many refills as you wanted.  Cinemas, theatres and stores peppered the street back then. There was quite an outrage when the price of coffee was boosted to a quarter for a cup.

images0GQHY675

imagesQ162ACJ5

Robson Street was a kitschy place at the time inhabited by artists, fortunetellers, belly dancers and cool little shops and restaurants.

I had my tea leaves read by a woman, who in hind sight, was a little scary.  She would stare into the cup, then stare at me, stare into the cup then stare back at me.  Her eyes fluttered closed and she moaned plaintively whilst rolling her head about.  Then the eyes popped open and she unloaded a host of information that made absolutely no sense but she assured me in time, it would.  Whatever was disclosed to me that day was soon forgotten.

Closing my eyes for a moment I just let the memories dance to the surface.

I always went down to Woodward’s.  They had the best Santa Land and the best Christmas displays in their windows by far!  It was the 6th floor that was transformed into a magical place for children each year.

The last Woodward’s Santa Land I attended was in 1987 when my daughter was four years old.  Woodward’s would later close down forever in 1993 . Eaton’s suffered the same fate unfortunately.

And as I sat watching the busy shoppers, I wasn’t saddened, not really.  Change occurs all the time.  It never ceases.  That I have been afforded so many rich memories is what matters most.  And you know, it never is about the gifts that I have received that springs to mind. It never has been.  Always it is a sound, a place, a smell, a touch, a smile, etc.  Some sensation arrests my attention and I find myself propelled into this beautiful, magical spirit we all share.

Of course, as adults, we all know that a man in red suit cannot possibly circumnavigate the globe in a huge red sleigh distributing toys to every child on this planet, yet we propagate the myth.

Why?

Perhaps because it makes us feel good.  There is a certain innocence and magic to it I suppose.  That desire to just believe.

imagesOF6PH0ME

My eye caught an elderly woman shuffling up the street with her walker leading the way.  Little clips had been attached to hold her shopping bags.  I admired her ingenuity. She wore a brown and white woolen weave coat that fell to mid-calf.  A brown felt beret with a broach of a penguin pinned to it adorned her perfectly coiffed grey hair.

She had the kind of eyes that were like liquid honey and a mischievous smile that graced her lips.   I watched as she made her way up the street.  A stately little gal and I pondered the stories she could tell.  She was close to me now and she caught my gaze.  The smile deepened as did mine.

“Merry Christmas” I offered with a nod.

“And to you, child!” she replied softly.  There was a hint of an accent to her voice from a lifetime ago.  I couldn’t say from where.

A few more glances and I stood.  Time to get back to the task at hand of finding the elusive perfect gift.

A snowflake landed on my nose as I stood and I laughed.  Looking up, I watched as the wet snow transitioned into the big fat flakes.  I was delighted that I’d left the car at home.

As I headed south along Granville St., the lonely refrain of a saxophone rang out.  The first few chords of ‘White Christmas’ echoed on the buildings and for whatever reason, I came close to tears.

Over the course of my 54 years there have been a lot of bad Christmas’ in the mix, along with some very lonely ones as well.  Now I simply focused on letting those that I love know how I feel and try to help a few of those in need as well.

I quickened my step now as the snow was really starting to come down.

The Napkin’s Odyssey…A Christmas Story Part 5 Final Chapter


I’ve done several writings on how to end this short story.  It’s been difficult, to say the least.  What message did I want to convey?  And I wanted to keep it simple and encourage everyone to perhaps reach out just a little more.  Doesn’t have to be much.  We all get so caught up in the commercialism of the Season.  Sales signs woo us and we think of the delight our loved ones will experience. 

I know what I try to infuse into this time of year.  So here is the final installment.  Have a very happy holiday!

Christmas Napkin 4Part 5 – Love and Forgiveness

My daughter and I were preparing to turn in for the night.  She was sitting on the sofa brushing her teeth watching the late evening news.  A muffled voice called, “Mom, come here!  You gotta see this.”

With face towel in hand dabbing my freshly washed face I walked out into the living room.  The newscast on the television was from Steamwork’s restaurant.

“…it’s been really quite remarkable what’s been occurring down here.  All of this was apparently inspired by an anonymous poem that was left with one of the servers last Saturday afternoon.  The server and a fellow co-worker later came up with the idea to share this with their customer base and Dennis, the manager here was very supportive of the idea.  As you can see it has gone viral down here.”

The camera panned the restaurant.  Walls were filled with napkins and the place seemed to be in a total party mood.  The newscast flipped to a camera outside the restaurant.  There were lineups at both entrances.  Servers were coming out offering hot chocolate, coffee and light appetizers to the waiting crowd.

The camera then switched back to the inside of the restaurant.

“I am here with Dennis who manages Steamwork’s.  So this is really something…”

“Yeah, we never saw this coming.  It’s been fantastic!  We’ve raised a lot of money for local charities, which we’ll be dispersing on Tuesday.  You know what has blown me away is just how everyone embraced this idea….its been really moving, really something to be part of..” then he trailed off looking around the restaurant.  Turning back to the reporter he smiled, “And I just want to thank the person who wrote that little poem….I… I’m going to go and make sure…” then he turned a moment later giving a server a brief pat along with a word or two and continued on.

“And there you have it.  Miracle on Hastings St. I must tell you the energy down here is unlike anything….” she smiled then, “back to you Chris.”

Kristen smiled.  “That’s really cool.”

“It certainly is.” I replied.

I must tell you, I was quite overcome at seeing what my little poem had inspired.  I was humbled by it.  For a moment in time, that little napkin had somehow carried an energy  resulting in this beauteous magic of the human experience.

I thought of some the books I’d read that had altered my path.  I thought of some of the people I had met that had enough of an impact, however fleeting, to make an impression and give me a sense of hope.

And somehow the brief writings on a napkin had touched something so deeply in so many.

Then I thought of Jay.

When I was sixteen I had lived on the streets for a brief period of time.  I had panhandled hoping to get enough money for a $5 hotel room in the Downtown Eastside.  I can recall sleeping in beds with sheets that were so soiled, all the washing in the world could not take the stains away.  And I  had wondered if I would ever feel clean again.

To many I was invisible.  Yet, the other day I almost walked right by Jay.  I really didn’t want to stop.  Didn’t want to take the time and I know that each time I do stop and help someone, the feelings I experienced rush to the surface.  Perhaps that’s why I’m always so torn.  And its hard to watch and to see the desperation, the fear, the despair and the pain in someone’s eyes.

But I do know that a kind word, a smile, a coffee or a sandwich offered can make a difference.

The following day I called Covenant House and spoke with Rick.  Jay was doing well.  They were hoping to get him interested in school again and they had a room there for him.  They were assessing his situation but he was safe and they would do what they could.  I thanked Rick and asked him to give Jay my best and Rick said he would pass along the message and thanked me in turn.

And maybe, just maybe I had provided enough of an impact to give Jay a sense of hope.  That was the prayer in any case.

Love and forgiveness.  If you think about the man’s whose birthday inspires this season and the message of his life, those two attributes pretty much sum it up for me.  It was a lesson I learned a long time ago and work steadily at improving upon.  So I will end this tale here.

Merry Christmas to all of you and may the New Year bring many blessings.

And who knows, maybe one day we will have Peace on Earth.  Always I must believe that its possible.

 

 

 

 

 

The Napkin’s Odessey….A Christmas Story Part 3


There will likely be five installments as I wanted to pace it a bit better.  I hope you are enjoying this little story so far!

Part 3 – The Power of Suggestion

Christmas Napkin 3Lisa watched the woman leave and picked up the bill fold from the table.  She’d liked the woman’s gentle nature and wry sense of humour.  Walking to the cash register she opened the tab and took the cash out.  She looked at the napkin and opened it briefly.

Smiling she tucked it into her leather case that held her tips.

“I will read you later.”  Completing the transaction it was back to work.  It had been very busy and showed no signs of slowing down.  Lisa didn’t mind.  With all the courses she had lined up for the New Year every little bit helped.

At 23 years of age she had big plans and even bigger dreams.

Her shift should have ended at 8:00 PM but Elsie wasn’t feeling all that good so Lisa agreed to cover the rest of her shift.

At 10:00 PM Lisa finished up for the night.  She ordered a burger and John poured her a beer.

They chatted while she cashed out her tips.  She smiled when she saw the napkin and set it aside.

“When are you leaving for Halifax, John?” she asked.

“I’ve got my flight booked for the 21st of December at 8:00 AM.  But I gotta tell you, I hate flying at this time of year.”

“Yeah, never fun with all the delays and stopovers, is it?”

“You’re not going home this year?”

“Nah.  Can’t afford it.  I’ve got all my classes lined up for next year and have most of them paid off.  I’m just going to get as many hours as I can over the holidays.  My mom’s bummed about it, but hey, I’ll shoot for a summer sojourn.”

“Traveling during the holidays sucks to boot.” John reiterated once more. “The things we do for the folks…”

Lisa laughed.  “How are you’re studies coming along?”

John had been in law school but was finding that he really didn’t like it all that much.

“I’m gonna get together with a career counselor in January.  Think I’m going to change my major, but to what I’m not sure.  As it is, I’ll be in debt up to my asshole for the remainder of my days.  I don’t know how you manage to pay for everything, Lisa.” He commented shaking his head.

Lisa smiled and let go an exaggerated sigh. “I don’t have a life, remember?”

“Right!”  John grinned and took her cash and counted it.

“Damn, you did good girl!”

He took the required 30% that was divided among the bartenders, hosts and kitchen staff and Lisa still had over $200 to take home.  He gave her the cash back in $50’s and $20’s.  Then he reached for the napkin that was off to the side.

“No.  Don’t touch that just yet.  A woman was in earlier.   She wrote something in it and I plan to read it now.” Lisa informed him.

John laughed.  “Probably a love letter.” He teased.

She scowled at him, “Fuck you.!”

John laughed harder. “Well, I’ll leave you to it then.”

A moment later the burger was in front of her.  Lisa took a long sip of her beer then she opened the napkin and she began to read.

The burger was held suspended as Lisa stared at the napkin.  Suddenly her eyes began to fill with tears.  She put the burger down then reached for another napkin.  John walked over having seen the shift in mood.

“Lisa?  Is everything okay?” he inquired.

She nodded. “Yes.  It’s just really beautiful what the woman wrote.”

John raised his brows in a rather dubious manner.  Must be a girl thing he decided.

“Here, I’ll read it to you.”

“Give me a half sec. Finish your burger and I’ll finish up with the two at the end.  Be right back.”

Lisa took the opportunity to eat the burger and she read the napkin through once more.  The place was almost empty now and they closed in another half hour or so.

Lisa cleaned off the area wanting to make sure the napkin didn’t get wet or stained.

She sipped her beer and a few moments later John walked back over.

“Okay.  I’m listening.”

Lisa picked up the napkin and began to read.

A simple Christmas napkin,

This is all I am,

Designed to look festive and pretty to grace a table fair,

I’ll take the stain from your face,

Sticky fingers will come clean,

You’ll dab spilled wine from the table top,

Then toss me in the waste.

But what if I told you, I had a dream?

A Christmas wish so grand!

No other napkin will shine a bright as me across this great land!

Slip me in a plastic sleeve,

Take my picture if you like,

Make me a star like the ones in the heavens,

If only for one night.

Then lay me to waste as I surely I must go,

But before you do one last thing,

Take one more Christmas napkin,

And on the inside fold,

Write at least one word, if you will,

Of what Christmas means to you,

Then pass it forward with instructions at the ready,

Why we could fill a wall!

And before I depart just one last thing,

Peace to you and Merry Christmas to all!’

John just stood there.  He wasn’t an emotional kind of guy but like Lisa there was something inherently beautiful in this little poem.  Before speaking he made certain that the emotion in the moment had passed.  An idea popped in his head.

“I’ll be right back.”

He came back a moment later with a big Ziploc bag from the kitchen.  “Here.”  He handed it to Lisa.

“Don’t you just love this?” Lisa asked as she slipped the napkin into the bag.

“I do actually and I’m surprised.”  He leaned against the bar.  “So what big plans do you have for that little napkin there?”

Lisa sat back and looked at the bag. “Can I get another?” she asked holding up her beer glass.

John smiled and went over to the taps and poured her another.  When he came back Lisa was smiling rather mischievously.

“Okay. Spill.” He instructed.

“We could use this with the customers.  I can take a picture and Photoshop it.  We can put this little guy on top of the tree.  I’ll make a few banners and we could ask our customers to write down a word or two.”

John looked at her rather contemplatively.  “We would have to watch the wording.  Might have to adjust it to ‘What do the holidays mean to you?’” he began, “And we could make up little flyers asking patrons if they would like to participate and if so to ask their server…”

The two were now deep in thought.  John brightened “Hey!  We have those cork boards downstairs!”  We could bring them up and put them in various parts of the restaurant  so people can post their napkin.”

Lisa grinned. “I love it!  Is Dennis around tomorrow?”

“Yup, I think so.  I’ll leave him a message.  What time is your shift tomorrow?”

“I’m in at 2:00 PM again but I can come down early.  I’ll have the banner and flyer laid out.” Lisa replied.

“Cool.  What do you think we should call this little venture?” John offered.

“Hmmm.  Let’s sleep on it.”

Lisa finished up her drink then headed home.  This was going to be so cool.

 

 

A Christmas Story…The Napkin’s Odyssey – Part 1


I thought I would re-post my Christmas story from last year.  Enjoy1 

Part One – Remembrances

lights & action 031

I set out on my annual Christmas shopping trek seeking those items that would just scream someone’s name at me.  There was quite a bit of foot traffic on this Saturday afternoon along Granville Street.   It’s always good to see the hustle and bustle this time of year as I made my way slowly along the corridor plotting my course and plan of action.

This is one the main shopping drags in downtown Vancouver.  Today, as is typical this time of year, the sky is overcast and a wet snow has begun to fall.  I had been checking to see if any interesting little shops had materialized over the last year.  Unfortunately there were none at this juncture of my quest.

With all the health issues I had faced recently I found myself feeling a little fatigued and decided to find a bench to call home for a few moments.

I sat down across from the old Eaton’s store.  Next year Granville will look very different no doubt.  An American store, Nordstrom’s had purchased the property that was opposite me and it was now being renovated and slated to open sometime next year.

images4GHGYW0Cimages3R6502SQimagesKEPHSCZY

The old Eaton’s store, considered one of the ugliest stores. 

It was once described as an unending urinal wall.

So much has changed over all the years from frequenting this area of the city.  I gazed up the street.  The Bay looked very much the same on the outside, however, the interior has undergone many renovations over the years and continues to do so.

There used to be an old man that had built this weird conglomerate of instruments and he would sit outside The Bay, right on the corner of Granville and Georgia St. and play a variety of melodies.  From the time I was a young girl to somewhere in my mid 20’s he was there every Christmas.

I would go down to shop and always looked for him.  The contraption he played was drums, keyboard, accordion, spoons, symbols, a horn, tambourine, etc.  All were rigged and connected somehow, and with each note played they combined to make a hauntingly beautiful sound.

I would hear it when I got off the bus drifting down the Granville Street corridor.

imagesOHXT4WWBimagesI0MOQ3MT

The Bay Downtown Vancouver…Then & Now

The old guy wore a beat up Santa hat.  He was whiskered and a little rough around the edges but the smile and light that danced in his eyes could melt the bitterest of colds.

I always gave him a five dollar bill.  Might not sound like much but in those days it was.

He was still there for the first year of my daughter’s birth but the year after he was gone and I never did see him again.

I sat smiling thinking back to times past.  Looking down toward the south end of Granville I could still recall the neon signs that used to grace the corridor.  Vancouver was a relatively gritty city in appearance back in the day.  Even so, she’s always had a charm and beauty that cannot be beat and still does.

The White Lunch Café was located a few blocks down.  I would go there for breakfast from time to time.  Coffee was ten cents a cup with as many refills as you wanted.  Cinemas, theatres and stores peppered the street back then. There was quite an outrage when the price of coffee was boosted to a quarter for a cup.

images0GQHY675

imagesQ162ACJ5

Robson Street was a kitschy place at the time inhabited by artists, fortunetellers, belly dancers and cool little shops and restaurants.

I had my tea leaves read by a woman, who in hind sight, was a little scary.  She would stare into the cup, then stare at me, stare into the cup then stare back at me.  Her eyes fluttered closed and she moaned plaintively whilst rolling her head about.  Then the eyes popped open and she unloaded a host of information that made absolutely no sense but she assured me in time, it would.  Whatever was disclosed to me that day was soon forgotten.

Closing my eyes for a moment I just let the memories dance to the surface.

I always went down to Woodward’s.  They had the best Santa Land and the best Christmas displays in their windows by far!  It was the 6th floor that was transformed into a magical place for children each year.

The last Woodward’s Santa Land I attended was in 1987 when my daughter was four years old.  Woodward’s would later close down forever in 1993 . Eaton’s suffered the same fate unfortunately.

And as I sat watching the busy shoppers, I wasn’t saddened, not really.  Change occurs all the time.  It never ceases.  That I have been afforded so many rich memories is what matters most.  And you know, it never is about the gifts that I have received that springs to mind. It never has been.  Always it is a sound, a place, a smell, a touch, a smile, etc.  Some sensation arrests my attention and I find myself propelled into this beautiful, magical spirit we all share.

Of course, as adults, we all know that a man in red suit cannot possibly circumnavigate the globe in a huge red sleigh distributing toys to every child on this planet, yet we propagate the myth.

Why?

Perhaps because it makes us feel good.  There is a certain innocence and magic to it I suppose.  That desire to just believe.

imagesOF6PH0ME

My eye caught an elderly woman shuffling up the street with her walker leading the way.  Little clips had been attached to hold her shopping bags.  I admired her ingenuity. She wore a brown and white woolen weave coat that fell to mid-calf.  A brown felt beret with a broach of a penguin pinned to it adorned her perfectly coiffed grey hair.

She had the kind of eyes that were like liquid honey and a mischievous smile that graced her lips.   I watched as she made her way up the street.  A stately little gal and I pondered the stories she could tell.  She was close to me now and she caught my gaze.  The smile deepened as did mine.

“Merry Christmas” I offered with a nod.

“And to you, child!” she replied softly.  There was a hint of an accent to her voice from a lifetime ago.  I couldn’t say from where.

A few more glances and I stood.  Time to get back to the task at hand of finding the elusive perfect gift.

A snowflake landed on my nose as I stood and I laughed.  Looking up, I watched as the wet snow transitioned into the big fat flakes.  I was delighted that I’d left the car at home.

As I headed south along Granville St., the lonely refrain of a saxophone rang out.  The first few chords of ‘White Christmas’ echoed on the buildings and for whatever reason, I came close to tears.

Over the course of my 54 years there have been a lot of bad Christmas’ in the mix, along with some very lonely ones as well.  Now I simply focused on letting those that I love know how I feel and try to help a few of those in need as well.

I quickened my step now as the snow was really starting to come down.

In the Mood


Christmas is coming up fast this year.  Why I’ve hardly had a moment to breathe and now I am in panic mode.  As much as I would like to go ‘Christmas crazy’, I am resolved to keeping it simple this year. 

We went to see The Nutcracker on the weekend.  That put me in the mood for sure.  But you know, the one show that used to always do it for me was ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.  Last week I saw it on the guide and with giddy anticipation I switched the channel. 

I tucked my blanket around my toes and positioned all the pillows about me just so and my daughter curled up with her head on my lap. 

A few minutes into the show, however, I found myself scowling at the TV. 

THEY HAVE CHANGED IT! 

For about 15 minutes I watched in horror at this ‘updated’ version of the classic only to find that I disliked the characters being portrayed immensely.  The kids were selfish, egocentric and at times a little mean. 

I know to, the original had some of those elements as well but there was an innocence to it that didn’t come across at all in this version. 

After 20 minutes I could watch no more. No doubt they all redeem themselves at the end, or at least I hope they do.  Unfortunately I couldn’t stick it out.

I have never been a huge fan of Christmas movies.  More often than not they are disgustingly tear-jerky throughout.  Clichéd endings of miracles abound and everybody learns valuable lessons and a brighter future always descends from the darkness.  You just have to believe.

There is a formula to these films.  It’s been around a good long while.  From ‘A Christmas Carol’ to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, we are reminded to believe. Our hearts will swell to bursting and we’ll all feel good for a nanosecond. 

And so the challenge presented itself to me. 

Could I write a Christmas story that was not chock full of clichés?  Could I do it with a slightly bent sense of humour but get the meaning across?  Hmmmm. 

And could I actually add a fresh twist to it.  Why not give it a whirl?  So next week I will be lining up a five-part Christmas story to be presented to all of you.   

I love to tell stories as many of you likely do as well.  And don’t you love the process?  How an idea catches? 

I find myself rapidly visualizing the opening scenes, changing up characters and their purpose from the get go.  I then scramble to find a sheet of paper to jot the idea down with a brief outline.  It has now been committed to the page for further evaluation and development at a later date. 

So I’ve an idea that I am currently plotting out for a Christmas story.  Time to get the bare basics down. 

Have a great day. 

Peace

 

 

 

 

The Marketing Files: Psst…Have I got a deal for You!


It is an interesting practice, this thing called sales.  How do you convince the buying public to purchase a product? First, you need to know your market.

I am a writer, so of course I want to sell my work.  First thing I must do is assess my own work and decide who and where the target market is.  If I can generate interest in this area it may trickle out into other areas of the market as well.

Regarding my blog, for example, while I have written, written and written some more, I have not interacted with my readers or fellow bloggers very well.  In a sense, I’ve been in my little corner of the world talking to myself and hoping that someone would take interest.  Some of you have and I thank you.

As I’ve perused some of the successful blogs on this forum, I’ve found the one thing that is glaringly consistent is how much commentary these sites generate.  Mine does not.  The other thing of note is that I write about whatever I happen to be thinking about. Yes, there has been some consistency with my training for the 1/2 marathon and with my health issues, however, I do note that successful blogs tend to have a general theme overall.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like the majority of the posts I’ve published on this site.  I would not have posted them otherwise.  Perhaps it is simply a question of presentation.

I have updated my site from its original format and added several more widgets, tags and stuff.  I love the terms they come up with for these things, though I am typically slow off the mark understanding what they are, let alone what they do.

The other aspect that I’ve looked at is why a site is popular.  Just because it has generated a great deal of interest,  a popular blog is not always well written or really all that interesting.  Yet, they’ve created a hook to get you in the door and managed to make you stay for a while.  Visually these sites are appealing and they are extremely welcoming on some level as well.

I gave thought to some of the products over the years that created an odd hysteria with the buying public.

Pet Rocks, for example.  For about a year these were all the rage.  They disappeared as quickly as they came though.  I actually used to see people walking their Pet Rocks on the Seawall here in Vancouver.  The marketer had several accessories for your rock.  Beds, rock cozies, carriages, leashes, etc.

Who remembers the Cabbage Patch Dolls?  That was downright scary.  My daughter was about two years old when these hit the market.  That Christmas I was standing in the toy department of Woodward’s.  I was holding one of these dolls, reading the box and trying very hard to understand the appeal.  I put it down for a moment to adjust my purse and a woman grabbed it from behind me.

Surprised and a little startled, I turned and she had the most demonic look in her eye as she clutched the doll to her chest.  If I wanted it back, I’d have to fight her.  Of that I was certain.  I wasn’t interested in purchasing the doll anyway, just curious about the strange appeal this product had.

Tickle Me Elmo had the same impact.  I can’t recall the store I was in but I do recall a clerk coming out with a crate on a flatbed dolly.  The clerk got the box open and then the crowd descended, rapidly and without mercy.  I stood transfixed several feet away watching as people pushed and shoved and yelled at each other.  Within a few short minutes the box was empty.  Those who had not been so fortunate as to get one of these little gems, stared expectantly at the clerk who had backed himself onto the shelving where he stood gripping it, shaken and a little overwhelmed.

Whose to say why these items generate the interest that they do?  The same can be said for books.  Some of the titles from my youth that I recall going viral were Fear of Flying, Future Shock, Carnal Knowledge, The Happy Hooker, etc.  Three of the books were sexually explicit and rather taboo topically.  And in a sense I do understand their appeal.  They were breaking new ground.

In any case, I know I have to start shaking hands and kissing babies.  Oops!  That’s wrong.  I’m not a politician.

Step one will be to become a social butterfly in the blogging world. 🙂  I’ll be the Belle of the Blog!

Also, I would love to get any feedback, comments or suggestions that you may have.  They are always welcomed and appreciated.

Enjoy your day!

Peace.

 

 

 

Snow Day! The Harrowing Tale of Commuting in the S***w!


Upon waking this morning I found a carpet of white outside on my deck.  The first snowfall had made it way to lower ground.  A change of plans will now occur.  I don’t drive in snow if I don’t have to.  I am actually quite good at driving in the snow, but nothing will give you grey hairs faster than having the guy in front of you spin out.  So the gym was out this morning.  Besides, I am running tonight.  My running clinic is having its final run of the year, then we break for two weeks.  Also we are having a party consisting of pizza, beer and prizes and of course good company.  So I will be there, for sure.

I got myself ready, packed up my gym bag, got my purse and headed out on the adventure of commuting in the snow.   Mmmmm!  It was so beautiful!  I wanted to throw myself down and make snow angels…. I had, however,  just done my hair so not advisable.  I opted to get off at Burrard Street Station and walk the remaining seven blocks.  Along the way I would get my morning coffee and a nibble as well.

I put the strap to my gym bag over my head to better secure it and to balance out the weight of my purse.  I love the first snowfall.  It is so magical and almost seems to be a bit of novelty.  I was smiling and quite happy.  About four blocks in my earring caught on my Ladybug pendant on the lapel of my coat.  I made this odd sound as my ear lobe stretched to about two inches longer than usual.  So with head tipped over to one side while I struggled to free my ear from the clutches of the pendant, I began to notice women who were dressed  quite chic looking in their winter attire.  Their scarves were just so and the collars of their coats were turned up fashionably.  Some wore head gear and their boots! Oh, the boots were just beautiful!

I was now walking down Robson Street much like Quasimodo might.  My head was leaning onto my left shoulder and I now had issues with the strap of my gym bag which was on that side as well.

The strap had cut across my boobs, so I now the left boob facing in a southeast direction while the right was positioned northwest.  The gym bag was bouncing around on my right buttock and my purse was smacking my right hip.  All around me women were making it look so easy!  Sigh!

Now my coat had managed to bunch up around my midsection as well.  I rose to the challenge, people!  I made it through.  Yessiree!

By the time I got into work, I looked like I had been on a trek through the Himalayas for two weeks straight trying to find a Starbucks!  And I did find one!  Triumphantly I blasted into the office while my frozen appendages turned various shades of red.  A crazed smile adorned my face likely matching the eyes that now have that demented glow to them.

I AM VICTORIOUS!

Tears of gratitude now stung the back of my eyes as I dropped to my knees and kissed the fake wooden floor.  Yet another harrowing tale of challenging the elements, all in the name of being a productive member of society so that I can pay my taxes, has been chronicled!

The joys of being an eccentric blonde.

Have a great day everyone!