Fur Buddy


This is Moe. The Late Moe I suppose, having passed away last April after sharing 19 years with us.

I captured him in one of his most common states. Napping.

He was a cat unlike most. I know everybody has a cat that is such in their eyes, but he truly was. He wanted to always hang with the humans. He always noticed if there was something new in the house or yard- you could actually see the tiny wheels turning -assessing what was different. He talked (a lot); utterly distinct sounds to emote his thoughts, and to drive it home he looked right into your eyes, searching them for clues to tell if you’re understanding him.

He enjoyed gardening, always lent a helping paw when I was weeding.

But his truest desire and life purpose was to be on a lap. He was a giver. He would purr so deep and contented to bring you to a state of calm and stasis if you will, you don’t want anything to move because he is so into the Lap.

He wasn’t well near the end and we made the hard decision to put him to sleep with the vets help.

Hardest thing we’ve done. Hard.

He has his place in the backyard next to Miss Kitty, she died at 18 at home a year before Moe, Smokey our Schipperke- 2001, and Chinook who died 30 years ago.


He was a strong personality in our house and he is missed.



Behind the Glass

                                     The Object of Desire

IMG_3758Passing by this high-end Culinary store “Williams-Sonoma” in Vancouver with my husband and son, I stopped in mid stride to stare at this masterpiece of a cooking range.

Slight palpitation and I think my breathing stopped.

My son said what do you think it costs?

I said, Oh it’s got to be $10,000 , I said when I came toI mean really. Who would pay more? It’s an oven. And $10,000 is a lot of money.

Lets go in and see, he said.


We were approached by the store assistant and I asked about the oven in the window.

Ah the La Cornu Stove, He smiled, Yes that model is $47,000.

Then he continued to tell me that the company started in 1908 and that each oven is hand crafted and made to order in France, shipped and professionally installed. In what would not be a modest rancher.

Well, I guess that justifies it.

I bet it makes a first class Mac and Cheese.



Winter Roost

I have found a home away from home for the next four months. It’s perfectly suited to me; sitting so near the ocean, so great when the weather turns turbulent. So near to where I need to be, five minutes from my mother’s house.

Everything is temporary.

I will return to my little island each weekend, happily, to be in my own home, cooking good food, sitting by the fireplace with my husband, walking to visit friends. Recharging.

Then back. Two refuges.

Susan McGinn

It was grade 5 and the day to elect students to do class tasks. Tasks like wiping down the chalk board at the end of the day, making sure things were back in place, those kinds of things. Susan McGinns’ hand went up like a piston when the teacher asked the class for nominations. Yes Susan? Teacher said. I elect Debbie to clean the toilets, Susan said turning to me with a big smile, and the class of course laughed along with her. I think I dissolved into my desk, I can’t recall exactly. I blanked out. I think I was partly in shock that she could humiliate me and look right at me. Gutsy.

Susan McGinn started out as my friend who lived across the street. After school I’d go to her house and we’d watch National Velvet and eat cereal, other times I would help her dry the dishes that were left from breakfast and we would play “if I were a millionaire.”

She lived with her dad and they had a pool table where the dining room table should be. Their dog would sometimes shit under it, Susan would come home from school and find it there and clean it up. Her dad would be at work so she was by herself for a bit after school. He liked country western music and drank beer, but I remember he was quiet, kind and gentle.

I spent the night at her house many times and we’d put on “Sugar Shack” and sing ad nauseam in her bedroom and make up dance routines.

I can’t recall what it was that suddenly made her hate me so much. It was like a tap. Next thing I knew she had a vendetta on me. I don’t know what set her off, but my  school life became nearly unbearable because of it. Her confidence, as she rained down condescending remarks on me, was solid.

She could rally the class behind her and hold their attention as she picked apart my choice of clothing I wore that day. Man, I wish I had that kind of confidence. But I wouldn’t use my confidence for evil purposes. I think back to all of the great things I might have accomplished if I had had good Sue McGinn confidence. But my deficit in that attribute was deep and crippling. I was the quintessential Shrinking Violet. If you looked up Wall Flower, I’d be there.

Then one day a miracle. Sitting at my desk I feel a nudge from a classmate from my right, I turn to find an envelope being held out to me and I look past it to see Sue McGinn smiling the drippiest, diabetic, sugar drenched smile at me. It was from her. I took the envelope and inside was a card with a beautiful drawing of flowers on the front, drawn by her. She was making up! Finally my torment was coming to an end. I smiled back, then I opened the card.

I should’ve opened the card first so I wouldn’t have smiled first. I should’ve played it cool and taken the card with maybe a furrow in my brow that implied what the hell is this now? To show her I wasn’t falling prey to her wicked ways. I should’ve then opened the card like I could care less, then look right at her (the way she boldly does at me)  roll my eyes and toss the card back at her.

She got me. I smiled back before opening the card. She got me perfectly. Hook, Line and Sucker. I can’t recall what heinous hallmark curse was inside, I blanked out again from sheer embarrassed humiliation. My gullibility was chronic. She was goood.

She moved away not long after never to be heard of again. We moved too, out of Garden Grove to Huntington Beach and to a new school and though I never encountered the likes of Sue McGinn again in other classmates since, she did a stellar job of embedding a fear of criticism and being singled out in a group, even if for good things like a job well done or a talent or a job interview. Still very uncomfortable with any attention turned on me. But I’ve worked to overcome as we must as we mature, but she gave me some darn good stuff to work with. So, uh thanks I guess.


Here and There

I have been grappling with this particular issue lately. At this juncture in my middle-aged life (as with millions of Boomers) it involves the concerns of caring for a parent, who if fortunate enough to have reached into their octogenarian years, appreciate and need their children’s attention.  A role reversal if you will.

My post heading Here and There is most illustrative of my current residential condition.

As you may know from my profile I live on an island and commute by boat each day to work. And now that I’ve been attending to my mom who lives on her own and is one hour away logistics have to be managed. Now from work I can be up There  (Moms place) in 25 minutes – no problem- but during the winter the days are then dark and wet or icy and to drive back Here  (home) after a day at work and traveling up to see mom makes for a long, long day with burn out waiting in the wings.

So last year I had rented a trailer a few minutes from her house up There to alleviate the return commute each evening. It was simple. On weekends I would return to husband and home back Here, and my sister would then be available to assist and visit our mom then.

Not the best recipe for the happiest of marriages but he is very supportive and understands the condition.

To move her to a closer proximity to us, her children, into an Assisted Living home is proving to be a lengthy process of waiting for assessment (which we are) to then be placed onto a waiting list. Which presently is at one year.

She is best where she is for now. And we can make it work.

But coming up to this winter I thought I wouldn’t “move” away again. I  decided to retire from my work at the university, that my mom is now my occupation. I could then spend the day with her, getting her out to swimming and walks, errands and appointments returning to my island home by the early evening. Happy wife, happy husband-

Well I was pretty set with that decision for several weeks.

Then I decided again.

I decided instead to once more look for a place to rent for the winter. I enjoy my work. I’m not ready to stop. I will give it one more winter. She may move by next year, she may not, or she may be gone. But one more winter.

And the sad truth be told, It is a temporary situation. It could all change in a heartbeat.